Biprorshee Das

Money talks. Pay careful attention!

After winning Reserve Bank of India's media awareness project, Publicis Ambience, teaming up with lyricist and poet Gulzar, has created a public service campaign on authenticity of banknotes

Money talks, someone once said and someone later even joked that it just says 'goodbye'. So, if you are paying attention to what your money tells you, the Reserve Bank of India has a word of advice - heed carefully!

After winning the creative mandate for the central bank's media awareness project, Publicis Ambience, teaming up with noted poet and lyricist Gulzar, has created a television film on the authenticity of banknotes.

Money talks. Pay careful attention!
The film shows a montage of situations from around the country. The montage, while capturing the various moods and colours of India carefully, highlights the usage of currency by people and maintains the intention of the film through the execution.

A music score runs through the 60-second film, with a voiceover reciting the words penned by Gulzar. Gulzar's lyrics tell, often cheekily, the various details one must be careful about while ensuring that a bank note is an authentic one.

The film has been directed by Pushpendra Mishra of Flying Saucer Films. It has been produced by Divyesh Satta and the music is by Zubin Ballaporia. The voiceover is by theatre personality Salim Arif.

The creative team at the agency includes national creative directors Prasanna Sankhe and Ashish Khazanchi. Sankhe is the art director and has also written the copy with Rishi Upadhyay. The film managers at Publicis Ambience are Hozefa Alibhai and Belliappa Maneyapanda.

Money talks. Pay careful attention!
Speaking on the film, Sankhe says, "The objective of the film was to tell the people about the various safety features in all currency notes. However, instead of making a plain informative message, we thought there was a wonderful opportunity to tap into a very deep routed Indian insight. We, as Indians, inspect everything thoroughly before we buy it. Test it. Check it. Be it a car or a coconut. However, while accepting a note - we don't bother much. We wanted to cash in on this very relevant point and make people change their habits and start inspecting, if not all, at least some of the safety features."

According to him, trying to achieve a change in social behaviour is a challenging task and to be able to pull it off is a satisfying experience.

The collaboration with Gulzar also helped, says Sankhe, as the film needed to appeal to every Indian citizen and not a specific target audience.

The film, aired first on Doordarshan as the RBI wanted to get to the grass root level, will soon move to cinema halls and eventually, satellite channels. It will be supported by a print campaign and on-ground activation. This shall be further followed by a second phase of the campaign.

Further talk...

When asked, creative pundits have spared a kind word for the execution and the intent of the film but given the magnitude of the problem (counterfeit banknotes), the film has met with some brickbats.

Money talks. Pay careful attention!
Money talks. Pay careful attention!
Prathap Suthan, national creative director, Cheil Worldwide likes the analogies and casting and says that the film is charming from a cinematic perspective.

He appreciates that is slanted, aimed at the "aam junta" in the smaller towns and villages.

"These are the very people who trust and believe our national legal tender to be sacrosanct and will use more currency in their lives and in daily life than us who live in the metros. This is the heart of India, where counterfeit currency will thrive and grow unnoticed and corrode our systems without suspicion," he says.

However, he thinks that the film is "too soft", given the rampant problem.

"This will help me admire my currency note. It is indeed a beautiful work of art. However, I need to be told that the note in my pocket could be counterfeit. The urgency, the criticality and the importance of the matter have all vanished under a veneer of touching visuals and moving words," says Suthan.

"Harsh brutal inspection is what is needed to keep my pockets safe. Ram home the message. In the era of net payments, credit cards, cheques and everything else paperless, this is not the tone or message to be deployed," he exclaims.

Rahul Jauhari, national creative director, Pickle Lintas expresses similar views and concerns. "On the execution front, it is beautiful copy - nicely cut and done. The thought is very nice, the craft visible clearly," he says.

According to Jauhari, the film falls short at its attempt to reach out to the masses and induce a change in the way people behave.

"The communication needs to be a lot simpler, clearer to be understood by the masses and to move them to action. This one's for the galleries, if you ask me. It will draw applause there," he observes.

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