Axis Bank: Moving with the crowd

By Rashmi Menon and Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 08, 2013
The bank extends its positioning, Badhti ka naam zindagi, in its latest campaign, which shows how an individual's progress in life is interlinked with the growth of others.

No man is an island, reiterates Axis Bank, and goes a step further to bring out that one man's progress sets off a ripple effect that extends the success to several other lives. Some time ago, the bank had launched its 'Badhti ka naam zindagi' campaign that positioned it as a partner in progress for its individual customers. Taking this positioning a step further, the new television commercial asserts that 'Zindagi ke highway pe koi akele nahin badhta'. The new campaign imbibes the philosophy to 'progress together'.

The new Axis Bank TVC

The TVC, conceptualised and designed by Lowe Lintas, gives a glimpse into the lives of several people who grow simultaneously in life, and are oblivious of the how their personal growth influences the progress of the other. For instance, a woman who gets a job in a garment company due to increase in orders, in turn applies for home loan. Her mother, who is furnishing the house, buys a carpet, which in turn helps the carpet seller to pay his son's school fees.

In its earlier campaign, the focus was on personal progress; the TVC showed the protagonist achieving the milestones in life, with a director's voice in the background crying out words like action, location change, cut, and so on, which presented the brand message - Zindagi ke picture mein interval nahi hota.

Manisha Lath Gupta

Arun Iyer

Manisha Lath Gupta, chief marketing officer, Axis Bank explains that in the earlier campaign, the brand repositioned from being a 'problem solutions provider' to a partner in progress. "We had a successful run with our last campaign. So when we started planning for the next round, we didn't have a doubt about extending the thought. However, one of the feedbacks we received was that our campaign featured only one customer and his journey. As a bank, we have a large customer base with different profiles and coming from varied socio-economic backgrounds. So, the new campaign was based on the insight that when one person prospers, others progress too," she says.

Arun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas says that while the 'Badhti ka naam zindagi' campaign aimed to define the bank's fundamental philosophy last year, the task this year was to continue building this sentiment on a larger canvas. "What better than changing the frame of reference from what it means for one individual, to what it means in the context of the entire community we live in? No one consciously seeks to improve others' lives around him. Yet, when you progress, others benefit too. Hence, no one really progresses alone," Iyer states.

Lath Gupta emphasises that the TVC focuses on people rather than products, so the products are featured in a subtle way. However, to create awareness about various products, Axis Bank has increased its digital ad spends this time. It plans to launch a website, 'progresstogether', which allows people to acknowledge those who have helped them progress and view acknowledgements they have received in return, thereby building a progress network.

Another online activity revolves around individual product promotions, featured in the form of an interactive game, "a new approach to engage with customers," Lath Gupta says. The bank will also carry out outdoor engagements in 23 cities, mostly metros, Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, along with print ads. While the other arms of the campaign will end by this month, the TVC will continue for almost a year.

Manish Bhatt

Hari Ganesh Desikan

Interestingly, Lath Gupta reveals that for the first time for the bank, the creative agency has conceptualised ideas for all media, which were built upon and successfully executed by other agencies for various media, especially digital. "The lesson we learnt from this was early co-creation of all partners goes a long way in choreographing cross-functional efforts and doing what is right for the brand," she says.

The bank's digital mandate is handled by Digitas, while its media duties are looked after by Starcom MediaVest Group.

Progressive view

Manish Bhatt, founder-director, Scarecrow Communications, says the ad is nicely written and has good visual elements. "It's a good attempt at the whole thread-in-a-montage style, though it may take the viewers a couple of viewings to understand the thread. The casting is competent, not outstanding. The overall communication approach of Axis Bank is not radical and the overall strategy is more literal than lateral," he says.

While the brand's thought of "progress on" is not new, the rendition of the first film is refreshing, opines Hari Ganesh Desikan, planning director, Saatchi & Saatchi. "The campaign, definitely, has more possibilities to explore. While Axis Bank probably enjoys high levels of awareness, the task for it would be to build preference. And, I am not sure if this execution will build preference for the brand," he critiques.

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