Ashwini GangalPublished: 20 Aug 2010, 12:00 AM

Larsen & Toubro Mutual Fund: Building Solid Foundations

Larsen & Toubro Mutual Fund, which entered the market in February 2010, recently launched a country-wide, multilingual ad campaign, which has the tagline, 'Built on strong foundations'

Months after buying over DBS Cholamandalam Asset Management (DCAM), Larsen & Toubro (L&T), in February 2010, launched its asset management company (AMC) and took the plunge into the mutual fund business.

Larsen & Toubro Mutual Fund: Building Solid Foundations
Now, taking a step forward on the creative front, the company has launched a new ad campaign. The objective of the communication is to establish the mutual fund arm of the L&T group as an honest and trustworthy expert, which hides nothing from its patrons.

The mutual fund (MF) category is a crowded one, with over 50-odd AMCs offering more than 2,000 schemes. The MF brands that are active in the media space include SBI, HSBC, Fidelity, Tata, IDBI, Birla Sunlife and Religare.

When quizzed about L&T MF's positioning vis-à-vis that of its competitors, Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer, Mudra Group, says, "While most other brands focus on their expertise, their heritage, or promise dreams and a better financial future to investors; the L&T MF campaign borrows its positioning -- 'Built on strong foundations' -- from the parent brand, L&T." He goes on to explain that L&T already has a strong foundation -- a fair reputation in the infrastructure business.

Larsen & Toubro Mutual Fund: Building Solid Foundations
In sync with the brief given by L&T, the consumer insight that the campaign rides on is the realistic belief that no one can become wealthy overnight; that the path to wealth involves hard word, difficulties and being exposed to the vagaries of financial markets. So, people need a 'solid' expert, who would help them invest their money wisely.

The TG thus comprises investors who're looking for long-term returns as a result of studying the market, as opposed to those who play the greedy game of chance for overnight returns. Therefore, the brand skips incredible promises and offers a balanced approach instead.

The creative duties for the brand lie with Mudra West. The 45-second TVC, the first amongst several, shows the oft-seen images of Janmashtami celebrations. A group of young boys is seconds shy of reaching the prized pot -- the 'dahi handi'. One failed attempt has on-lookers' rapt attention, and with a solid show of patience and teamwork, the group manages to successfully reach its goal.

The TVC ends with an aerial view of the victorious boy who breaks the 'handi'. The MVO content in the TVC seems a tad more category-led than brand-led.

The production house behind the ad film is Corcoise and the director is Sainath Choudhury. The copy is by Prajato Thakurta and the artwork is by Vinayak Gaikwad.

Larsen & Toubro Mutual Fund: Building Solid Foundations
Larsen & Toubro Mutual Fund: Building Solid Foundations
Coincidentally, the campaign breaks at a time when Janmashtami is round the corner. When asked about this coincidence, Pawar insists that this is not a tactical campaign; rather, it is an out and out brand campaign. The creative expression has merely used Janmashtami as a metaphor to make the point that the prerequisite to reaching one's financial goal is a strong foundation. "Hence, we did not think it was necessary to time the release of the campaign with the festival," he clarifies.

This is a multilingual campaign released all over India in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and Bengali. It is primarily TV-led, and will be seen on general news, business news, general entertainment and movie channels. Besides TV, full wrap-arounds in the new AC BEST buses in Mumbai will also be used for branding.

Strong creative foundation?

The campaign elicits a lukewarm response from industry experts. Madhu Noorani, chief creative planner, Lowe Lintas, opines, "I think it's a nice analogy, but the message is way too generic and could apply to any mutual fund. It's a bit hard to remember which mutual fund ad is for which company, and this one is guilty of the same thing."

KS Chakravarthy aka Chax, national creative director, Draftfcb Ulka, asserts, "The L&T Mutual Fund ad, frankly, leaves me cold. 'Govindas' breaking 'matkas' isn't exactly a fresh subject, and if that is the level of stability and safety a mutual fund is promising me, I would probably give it a miss."

He goes on to say that though the TVC has been shot reasonably well, the problem is the jaded metaphor and the slightly shaky logic. "It definitely does not add in any way to my perception of L&T as a very solid company," he concludes.