SBI: Bringing a sigh of relief

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 28, 2011
State Bank of India, in its new campaign, highlights the nagging worries of bill payments and the ease brought by its mobile banking offering. The campaign has been created by R K Swamy BBDO.

In this fast-paced world, one is always short of time and is often hounded by the work that remains unfinished. To provide a perfect solution to persistent chores such as payment of bills on time, transfer of funds, mobile and direct-to-home recharge, The State Bank of India is highlighting its mobile banking offering. The financial services giant has launched a campaign that stresses upon the ease brought about by its mobile banking service.

Conceptualised by R K Swamy BBDO, the television commercial titled Nagging Dwarfs, shows three dwarf-like characters personifying an aggressive bill collector, a daughter demanding mobile top-ups and a helpless mother dependent on money transfers. As their nagging reaches a crescendo during the protagonist's morning cup of tea, he reaches out to State Bank of India's Freedom banking solutions. This puts an end to all his worries as he is able to make payments, transfer money and even recharge talk time for mobile phones using the mobile service.

A senior SBI official says, "We were very clear from Day 1 that we wanted to talk about our mobile banking services in a different manner as most of the time the focus is on relationship, especially in the case of advertising in banking and financial services sector. Amongst all the ideas presented to us by the empanelled agencies, we liked this idea as it matches our thought and also what we wanted to highlight."

Speaking on the idea, Sangeetha N, executive creative director, R K Swamy BBDO, says, "The idea is the brainchild of Chacko Varghese, senior creative director, R K Swamy BBDO. The television commercial talks about the kind of uneasiness we feel when we have pending work and we know we need to complete it fast."

Varghese explains, "Typically, in a situation where our work remains unfinished, things keep popping in our head all the time, reminding us to complete them. It is a very irritating situation. Initially, we thought of creating endearing illustrations, but at the table, the illustrations transformed into dwarfs."

Breaking in the clutter

When it comes to the main message, advertising professionals are of the view that it's an old concept since the whole idea of mobile banking is related to comfort in one's life, by making tasks easier. Only this time, the story has been told in an interesting manner, and is bound to attract eyeballs.

Satbir Singh, managing partner and chief creative officer, Euro RSCG, feels that there's truth in the proposition. He adds, "It's going to get a large number of people to sign up for the mobile bill paying service. I am just miffed with the daughter. She's old enough to pay for her mobile top-up - maybe one tight slap can sort her out."

According to Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept, the TVC is strategically undifferentiated as the platform of convenience is fundamental to mobile banking. "Maybe the behemoth SBI wanted to keep it basic because it thinks that it can afford to be undifferentiated. The dwarf visual is quite interesting, but could have been made more endearing," remarks Dutta.

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