afaqs!

Tata Capital: Putting 'You' before 'I'

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 07, 2011
In the second ad since its launch in September 2007, Tata Capital wishes to be seen as the brand that will selflessly serve its customers.

There's something about the 'We care' positioning and financial brands - a holy matrimony of sorts, as rarely does one find a financial brand that doesn't wish to tend to its customers' needs. One could argue that this is the hallmark of the entire services industry, but it would be fair to say that some categories seem to be experimenting beyond the 'care' factor, while finance refuses to leave its stronghold on it.

Adhering to the category norm of sorts is the second ever commercial from a relatively nascent brand, Tata Capital. However, the story here is slightly different: there is a 'selfless' angle attached to it.

Tata Capital, launched in 2007, has a strong factor going for it: the Tata brand backing, which automatically lends it values such as credibility and trust. "But, at the same time, we were clear that Tata Capital, as a brand, must stand on its own feet, and have its own promise and equity," says Veetika Deoras, deputy vice-president, brand marketing, Tata Capital.

Two things were clear after research and focus group studies: information overload surrounds the wealth management category for one, and secondly, an average customer doesn't particularly trust a new generation player or a newly launched company when it comes to delivering exactly what he/she wants. The general feeling is 'everyone is selling to me, no one is serving me'.

According to Deoras, the service angle has a lot of scope provided one goes beyond a glossy promise onto something that satisfies real needs. The brand, therefore, has spent the last few months improving its backend services, along with training given to its employees to put the customer's needs first while recommending financial products, in an effort to not only sell the products, but also build the brand. Thus, Tata Capital, along with its agency Leo Burnett, arrived at the positioning of 'We only do what's right for you' or 'Kare Vahi Jo Aapke Liye Sahi'.

The brief to Leo Burnett was not only to bring out this angle in the communication, but to also highlight the wide range of services offered by the brand. The television commercial opens with the shot of a Sikh boy tiptoeing away from his bed in the middle of the night, towards the living room, where he, in a selfless act, swaps his bigger gift with that of his brother's. The next morning, as the two unwrap their gifts, the boy gets a sense of supreme satisfaction knowing his sacrifice is the reason for his brother's happiness on receiving the better gift. The voiceover (VO) goes on to explain that it feels nice when someone puts your needs first, while explaining the range of products under Tata Capital. 'Kare Vahi Jo Aapke Liye Sahi', concludes the VO.

Shoojit Sircar of Red Ice Films has directed the film. Interestingly, the same child actor essays the role of both the brothers in the film.

No child's play

The year 2008 saw the first commercial for Tata Capital, which also made use of children in it - a creative route the brand plans to stick to for a while. It showed two girls coming across an old coin and unsuccessfully trying to buy ice-cream with it, when an older boy (signifying Tata Capital) helps the two to pawn off the coin at a nearby shop and then purchase ice-creams. Here, the functionality of financial expertise while serving customers was much higher, while the new commercial hopes to latch onto the emotional plank of 'serving selflessly as per your needs'.

KV Sridhar aka Pops, national creative director, Leo Burnett India, says, "The biggest complaint customers have with financial services is the lack of honesty during recommendations by employees. Hence, it was important to bring out the selfless values of this brand, minus the in-your-face 'buy me' factor."

But, caring for customers would seem like a rather stereotypical thought across categories, correct? "Maybe, but when one talks of the Tata brand and anything to do with it, it lends more credibility to say something like that, as opposed to a fly-by-the-night player saying it," Pops shrugs.

The target group for Tata Capital is 25-35 year olds (mostly males), and regular consumers are being targetted more than the corporates. Tata Capital, which is present in 65 cities across India, is looking to capture market share in these places, to begin with.

The television commercial is being supported by outdoor and digital media; ad spends for the coming financial year is pegged at Rs 40 crore.

Pehle Aap?

The commercial receives a mixed bag of responses from the ad fraternity. According to Rahul Mathew, executive creative director, McCann Erickson, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of propositions that exist for one to play with in the first place - more so, in the financial category. "I guess the trick lies in how differently we can say the same thing, and 'we care' is not an idea, it's merely what the brand wants you to feel."

Tata Capital has tried to say that it cares, by playing on the selflessness factor, but Mathew isn't too sure if it's a relevant conversation. "Do I believe that others don't care about me, or are selfish? Not really," he shrugs. However, he finds the ad cute and endearing, but stops short of being memorable. "I'll probably remember this ad as the one with the Sikh twins. But, I doubt I'll remember the brand or what it was trying to tell me," he muses.

Pinaki Bhattacharya, executive planning director and vice-president, JWT, says, "This ad comes at a time when there is a certain amount of distrust about anything to do with finance. So the 'we do what is right' promise is in the right direction, and would be credible when a Tata company says so."

However, taking 'doing what is right' to an exaggerated area of sacrifice or altruism is a bit too much, he feels. "This is an exaggeration that is slightly incredible to expect from a finance company. I also think that the use of kids in advertising of financial products or brands is trend-setting. Given that, I hope this ad manages adequate brand recall." He adds that the commercial is well made - cute, warm, and the casting is appropriate for the story.

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