Debrief: Visa Debit: Plays the ‘Swades’ card

09 Oct,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Visa would like big city customers to splurge on cool stuff by using their card. However, in their new drive to take the card to the interiors of India, they have changed the strategy. Visa wants the gaonwallahs to use their debit card to do some hard social work. Hello, why must they? Why can’t the rural folk have some fun too? Is social work only their responsibility?


Anyway, the commercial features a bleeding heart who learns about Visa Debit, subscribes to it, and buys some equipment by using the card. This is the raw material for a bicycle generator he wants to invent. Which he uses to light up his dark village.


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The ad is much too contrived, and it fails to connect. For one, public service is being pushed by every other brand these days, so this route has lost all credibility. And when it comes from a multinational credit card company, alarm bells go off in the head. Also, the treatment is really sad. While the ad attempts to re-create the magic of Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Swades’, it falls flat because there’s zero emotion in the TVC. The big pay-off, that of changing lives, gets completely lost in all the info and the din that’s squeezed into 30 seconds.


Visa should stick to the ‘splurge with our card’ route. Even a country bumpkin aspires to get hold of the latest gadget.


Rating: (On a scale of 1-5): 1. Tired idea. Poor execution.


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