Sohini Sen

DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud

The bank's new consumer education initiative teaches to prevent online fraud through simple measures.

We, the people, are a curious lot. We lock our doors at night, keep our valuables in bank lockers and stay away from strangers. And yet, when it comes to online fraud, we seldom do anything. Which is why DBS Bank has come up with ACT - Action Against Cyber Theft - a campaign to make people aware of the dangers of online theft, as well as how to protect themselves against it.

"Everyone is talking about digital. Payment options, e-commerce, transacting online are the topics that most brands talk about. But, as a brand, it was also our responsibility to make people aware of the challenges. You can say that this is a part of our CSR initiative," explains Sheran Mehra, head - group strategic marketing & communications, DBS Bank.

DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud
DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud
DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud
DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud
The brand, in creative collaboration with Scarecrow Communications, has launched two films for consumer education. The first, 'Naming Ceremony', shows a family gathered to christen a new born. The little baby's grandmother, however, has other plans and gives her an alphanumeric name, because that can later become a strong password which others cannot hack. The second film, 'Landlord', shows a group of tenants faking a call to a random number and getting all necessary details of a bank account, so that they can pay their rent later.

The brand's messaging is subtle and yet simple to follow. It asks for the viewers to perform certain actions - which, in all probability, they have already heard before. Except this time it is not through dull mailers or SMSes, but through a humorous TVC. According to Mehta, it was important to do it this way because when people watch it, they are more likely to remember it.

According to Manish Bhat, co-founder, Scarecrow Communications, "People know about the threat of online frauds, of how to use a strong password or not to share your personal details with anyone. But, they just do not take preventive measures. It is like asking motorists to wear a helmet, which they know they should, but still do not."

It was, according to Bhat, very important to make it humorous, even though the topic itself deserves a serious thought. A humorous film is more palatable and relatable than a drab one, which is often skipped by viewers.

DBS, meanwhile, is expanding this consumer education initiative to digital (with a microsite and engagement content), print, OOH (in six metros) and radio. As part of the initiative, DBS has also tied up with a Pune-based institute to teach people about cyber theft and how to avoid it. The microsite will also have guest chats and essays by cyber theft specialists. While the television, OOH and radio campaigns will be on air for around three months, the digital leg will be spread out over eight or nine months.

DBS Bank's last two campaigns have been purely on digital - showing the love between two people and how the bank comes to help them in the 'Chilli Paneer' videos. While the brand uses more diverse platforms for its current campaign, the media spends haven't increased too much.

Being the only bank which has tried to speak about cyber theft specifically will also give consumers the confident to bank with the brand, Mehra hopes.

However, does it impress the creative community?

DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud
DBS Bank cautions against cyber fraud
Hakuhodo Percept's ECD, Shobhit Mathur, feels it's a great effort in the right direction. He is of the opinion that being the first will definitely be an advantage for DBS.

"DBS does a Modi! When a son of a tea-maker can become the prime minister of a country, why can't a disclaimer become the main communication? It's interesting. What we always saw and ignored as a six-point size mandatory, has now become the main communication. And I don't remember any bank communicating around cyber threat in the past. It's definitely a start. The logic is sound, the magic, however, could have been better. Take the naming ceremony situation, for instance: it's not the freshest of all situations. The second film is nicely casted and is executed well. Even the topic here is something that happens with a lot of people around us. To me, it seems like a more pertinent threat that most people ignore," says Mathur.

Former CDS of DDB Mudra and co-founder Brand Musiq, Rajeev Raja, feels that it will stand out of the crowd for sure.

"I quite liked it. It is a fresh way of looking at it, even though other brands have probably gone down this route through texts and emails. This looks like it is being done as a public service step, and that will rub off on the brand as well. DBS Bank is known of, but is not top-of-the-mind. This sort of work will build the saliency for the brand," Raja observes.

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