Does #IndiaInvited work for Kotak?

05 Jul,2018


By Prabhakar Mundkur


When Kotak released a new campaign #IndiaInvited that said it didn’t discriminate between consumers, and everybody could therefore open a 811 account with them, I couldn’t but help remember the famous State Bank of India campaign many years ago that said “The Banker to every Indian”.  The campaign showed people from different walks of life and income classes to demonstrate that they were all SBI customers.  Somehow it seemed most appropriate for India’s largest public-sector bank to say that.  If I were to put it another way SBI as a brand had the consumer’s permission to make that claim.


Does Kotak have the permission of consumers to make a similar claim?  I am not sure.  At the end of the day, positioning is not what companies want to say, but what consumers will let them say, or what they find acceptable.



One thing that the commercial did for sure is to engage a number marketing experts on discussions on the ad and whether it was appropriate or not. I spoke to a number of marketers about it and these are some of the reactions I got.


“Choice of Ranveer and his attire doesn’t feel appropriate; exaggerated expressions and caricaturized character seem over the top; almost making fun of the people it is made for.”


“I received the ‘811’ as a sub-brand; a proper noun that doesn’t mean anything beyond the sound of its name.”


“I think they got so engrossed with their superstar that they forgot to mention what makes 811 everyone’s bank…the fact that it is digital.”


“Big deal. The customer does not expect discrimination from any bank… the creative could have focused on that sensitive button of multinational banks will look down on me, but as it’s all online, even that’s moot.”



“811 is a zero-balance account, it can be opened completely online with just Aadhaar and PAN. It has a 6% interest rate. ‘For everyone’ is not a bad story. 90% of the accounts they open will be unprofitable. That’s the sacrifice they are proud of making”.


“Yes, does seem a little like ‘Banker to Every Indian’ but while the SBI campaigns merely acknowledged that Indians came in all shapes and sizes and that SBI knew and catered for them all (or created special products for the many diverse customer clusters) the Kotak ad is in your face about discrimination in life.”


“It is a communication that seems to be making a relevant point that needs to be made today. It’s like starting an important conversation in the society.”


“Choice of Railway Station as a context is bang on; one that the ‘every Indian’ identifies with; one that brings together diverse classes and cultures. Using the context to make sensitive references to people across the Indian spectrum is clever; clear, mostly subtle (in some cases insensitive).”


“It won’t make me consider Kotak; but now at least I see it as an organisation that seems to be raising an issue that needs to be raised.”






The problem in using celebrities these days is that the consuming public knows much more about the lives of their celebrities through social media.  It may be a little incredulous to believe that Shraddha Kapoor would let Baggit to do the talking for her when all her pics on main media and social media show her letting bags from Cartier do the talking for her. In fact I googled all the pics of Shradhha with bags and they were famous international brand names.


I thought the role of the bag was a bit forced in the commercial. But looking at the comments on YouTube it seems clear that people loved to see Shraddha Kapoor and none of them noticed her bag in the commercial which was Baggit. She is very popular but frankly I don’t know if she can help the bag to be popular.


I guess the commercial might do the job of raising brand awareness (hopefully) and nothing much more.


Indian entrepreneurs use celebrities so that they can show off to their friends about how they used a celebrity for their brand.  It’s got nothing to do with marketing science.



Indira IVF



The YouTube introduction to the video said “Becoming a mother should always be a matter of choice. BLUSH and INDIRA IVF present THE CHOICE – a new video in the Mothers and Daughters series, featuring SheebaChaddha and AuritraGhosh. “


I quite liked the commercial. I felt it was sensitive.  And said that it was never too late to be a mother while subtly introducing the concept of IVF.  The story is about a mother who wants to delay motherhood but is under social pressure from her family to have a baby.  Somehow there was a ring of reality about the entire situation.


It also tried to change the current attitudes to IVF which can tend to be negative.  Yes, it is a long ad though.  And I think the creators of the video prefer to call it content and not an ad.  Nothing wrong with that!  There is a of a lot of advertising masquerading as content, and vice versa.  Making it almost impossible to distinguish between the two.  If content is a 5-minute video advertisement on YouTube then this one is certainly content.  That’s all I can say!



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