After spending years strengthening its wallet and e-commerce offerings, Paytm is now taking the UPI route. In a new 30-second spot, the company highlights the fact that using the Paytm UPI offering means having the option of scanning any UPI code - even if it belongs to a rival company. The commercial uses fonts and colour schemes of its rivals to emphasise that it is unaffected by the competition.
This isn't the first time in 2019 that companies in the fintech space have made references to their competitors in their ads. Previously, a series of ads by PhonePe during the IPL saw 'Daadu and Gublu' take jabs at Paytm while highlighting their own product benefit.
We spoke to K Vaitheeswaran, the co-founder of Again drinks and author of the book 'Failing to succeed: the story of India's first e-commerce company' to understand his views on the spot.
Vaitheeswaran feels that the ad is average. "A lot of ads these days stay in your mind because they’re repetitive and not because they’re memorable. A memorable ad is one that stays with you even once it stops playing. But if you’ve spent 200 million dollars for your ad to play every time someone turns on the TV, then it’ll remain in your head, it belongs to that category…"
Don't ads in the fintech or BFSI category need to be explicitly clear about the product benefit that their company is offering, we asked. "I can understand what they’re trying to explain, but it’s not explained well enough. Essentially, what they’re saying is that in any place where there is Paytm, you can use the UPI feature to make a payment. If it's UPI, Paytm works – but I’m not sure if that’s been communicated well enough," Vaitheeswaran tells us.
He draws attention to the song used in the ad – a children’s rhyme. Vaitheeswaran expresses that it is akin to explaining things in simple terms – like 1, 2, 3, 4. He points out that there are a host of people who hesitate before using their smartphones for a transaction because they might have concerns about security or about simplicity of the technology.
"The fact that it is easy to use is important to communicate but you’re not communicating something new. The communication needs to go beyond the fact that it’s easy to use," he points out.
He explains that a few years ago, Paytm was the first player in this space - "Paytm saying they’re easy to use is not going to cut much ice because Paytm users have now moved on to Google Pay or PhonePe – which are also easy to use. Paytm was the first player on the block a few years ago, but they’ve been losing ground in recent times to Google Pay and PhonePe."
"Being the first on the block, they should’ve built a unique feature or a commercial benefit to their product. They went the wallet route, everyone else took the UPI route. It seems like Paytm just woke up one day and realised that it needed to play catch-up," Vaitheeswaran opines.
"There is not enough meat in this TVC to make users switch to Paytm from PhonePe or Google Pay, or to make them switch back."K. Vaitheeswaran, founder of AGAIN drinks
As far as the tone of communication is concerned, he believes the one used is best suited. “If you want a million people to use your product, you can make it complex, but if you want a billion people to use it, then it better be easy.”
We also spoke to Alpana Parida, managing director, DY Works – a design cum business agency. She points out that even though the fintech space is cluttered, Paytm is the brand with a strong recall. She points out that when the demonetisation of 500 and 2,000 rupee notes was announced, Paytm successfully reaped the benefits of awareness created when cash was in short supply.
“The highly simplistic ad which signifies the usage as being ‘child’s play‘ only helps demystify a new category. The UPI connection further cements their credibility. For payment portals, building trust is important and this adds that value to Paytm,” Parida told us over email.
“It is also interesting that ‘Paytm karo’ is treated like a verb. That only happens when the brand becomes synonymous with the category. Paytm is the brand with highest visibility and awareness,” she signs off.