Brands ride on 'Shaadi ka kharcha' theme to soft sell products

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital
Published : December 02, 2016
After Manyavar urged couples to split wedding costs, BankBazaar.com says, "Your wedding need not just be your parents' responsibility". Brands are ditching hard sell methods for progressive statements made through the desi wedding.

Recently, ethnic brand Manyavar released a campaign, 'Aadha-Aadha' featuring cricketer Virat Kohli. The ad made a progressive statement with Kohli talking to his would be in-laws about sharing the marriage cost which is generally not the case in India. It's the bride's parents who usually bear the marriage expenditures.

Now BankBazaar.com, an online finance-related marketplace, has recently released its new digital campaign #PlayYourPart, produced by Early Man Film and directed by Manoj Shetty, ex-group creative head of Ogilvy. The concept has been written by Carl Savio, chief creative officer of Bluebot, a Bengaluru based digital agency.

The ad sends out a progressive message to young couples - chip in for your own wedding expenses; don't put the entire burden on your parents. The core target audience for the brand is urban men between 25 and 40 years of age. In the ad, however, it's Snehu-the-bride who is shown reimbursing her parents, remotely.
The ad shows the father of the bride offering money to the caterer and the manager of the wedding hall for all the expenditures, when the hall manager gives him his daughter's letter. When the parents read the letter they are touched to learn that enclosed within that letter is the cheque covering the expenses. The daughter explains to her parents that she is aware of these big expenses and wants her parents to keep the money.

Prince Thomas

We asked Prince Thomas, head, brand marketing, BankBazaar.com, if the brand runs the risk of playing a secondary role since there is no product demo and the progressive message becomes the hero in the viewer's mind? He answers, "Our category is such that the need for a financial product is not immediate. It is a long term, engagement building process. We have different messages of making finances simpler for our audience so by doing it over a period of time, we start building interaction with our audience and eventually when the need arises, the first brand that comes to their mind is BankBazaar.com. It is important that we keep talking to them through different mediums and platforms and that will eventually help us as a brand."

He adds, "I feel when the message is as strong as this one, the brand association comes out naturally because it is a unique message which has not been done by any other brand. There are a lot of campaigns around save the girl child and other topics. There would be a risk only if the message has already been done by some other brand but with a campaign like this, it has not been done before and it is a new idea."

We asked our digital expert if ditching the hard sell method for a progressive route help BankBazaar.com make the cut?

Madhura Haldipur

Madhura Haldipur, creative lead, copy, DigitasLBi, says, "To be honest, I am torn between judging this film as a writer and a consumer. It spoke to me - it heightened all those emotions that made me start investing my earnings. That said, I obviously feel like a campaign in isolation will not - and probably should not - try to cover all its offerings. It does a good job of showcasing the payoff of financial independence, which the brand will assumingly help you with. It may not always be the right way to go for its products but it does help in brand awareness."

She adds, "The film seems honest, it does not patronise or misrepresent its audience, and exercises good restraint on the tear-jerking. Of course, I'd have loved to see a series - where's the student who wants to study abroad, or the first-jobber who wants their first debit card? But the brand must have their reasons (maybe financial?) for not doing so."

Talking about the trend of other brands joining the progressive route, Haldipur says, "Those seem to be all around us, I think the 'trend' will neither fade away nor stay. It will only change with the way popular opinion shapes up.''

In the recent past, apart from BankBazaar.com and Manyavar, there have been few other brands that have focused on progressive statements in their ads. Here is a look at those ads:

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