Stumped by Cred Financials. Bowled over with Ravi Shastri Ad

25 May,2022



By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaCred, the Bengaluru-based fintech company (Dreamplug Technologies) for Credit card payment promises its nine million-plus members points that can be redeemed against rewards. In a way, the customer not only earn rewards while buying things on a Credit card, but also when making Credit Card payment through Cred.


I have commented on Cred’s strategically quirky ads and clutter breaker creative devices. Personally, I was never a huge fan of Cred advertising and found it crazy. It did not really make sense, with hardly a real call for action and flogging the same message for too long.


With time, the advertising started making some sense. Cred advertising is impressive enough on focussed consistency. The message format has changed yet it has retained its basic flow and quirkiness. I can now appreciate the structure and the advertising a bit better,  but am simply stumped with the scale and need.


Cred advertising is still about the rewards on Credit card payments. Other features like Expose Hidden Charges. Track Spends. Clear Bills, Free Credit reports and scores, referral programmes, Get Rewarded, Peer-to-peer lending or pay Rent are not promoted.




With the  Ravi Shastri Cred ad, Cred seemed to have bridged a gap. The ad is all about the performer’s perception and image. Coming in towards the last leg of IPL, the timing is right. Being a country that focusses a lot on cricket,  viewers relate to the act as Ravi Shastri and his passion for drinks is a joke shared too often.



The ad is humorous. It exploits the media image of Ravi Shastri. It has dialogues that one may find crazy and cheesy, but they are on the dot. And then Cred promising more fun than what Shastri is having. That is the week link.


‘Sattar minute for happy hours’, ‘I used to be a batsman, but for you, I can be a keeper’, ‘Waste mat karo yaar’ are spot-on.  The timing perfect. Add to them my favourite:  the poker-faced answer at the press conference, ‘Hate Talking to sports journalists’.


The Cred Ravi Shastri ad, like any other Cred quirky ad, is gaining views on YouTube. The small write-up under the ad on the Cred YouTube channel is equally interesting. Here it is.


As Ravi Shastri, I want to make it very clear that all my parties are invite-only. But I admire our youth and their potential, so if you’re able to do all of the following, you’re automatically on the guest list: (1) Open beer bottles with a bat. If you ask how, you’re already out. (2) Analyse footage from the party to see where drinks were wasted (3) Bartend 24×7(4) Carry an extra case of cough syrup at all times (5) Parallel park the bar-counter

If you make the cut, congratulations. You’re never going to remember another night in your life again. But if you don’t, cheer up: you can find an equally rewarding experience on Cred. All for paying your credit card bills. Believe me, I know what’s fun. To join me as a member, download the app


What Next With Cred Ads


If Cred remains true to its advertising SOP, we can expect a series of ads in the format where the Celebrity may project their unwarranted images. Maybe Shashi Tharoor, Kangana, Chetan Bhagat, and Salman Khan could be good extensions to the series. Maybe the next series can pick trends with social media influencers. Hope it remains away from the region, religion, sex and politics – the four pointers that tilt the Smear Index  for any communication.


Cred Clutter Breaking Communication Recipe.


Something must be right. Cred claims ( as of Oct 2021) a 700% increase in app downloads after the 2020 audition campaign featuring Madhuri DixitGovindaAlka Yagnik and Udit NarayanBappi Lahiri, and Anil Kapoor. And I was questioning – what the hell Cred was doing?



The next lot of communication has celebrities portraying images that you don’t associate with.  The series featured Rahul DravidJackie ShroffKumar SanuVenkatesh PrasadNeeraj Chopraand Kapil Dev. These were fun, and everyone had their favourite, with the Dravid ad being the most loved.



Then came the old era imagery with Karishma Kapoor in Nirma adZee Antakshari with Renuka Shahane and Annu KapoorSharma Ji-Gupta JiShaan-Sonu Nigam song. I thought Cred was becoming too constrained with its own format and boundaries. And then it surprised us with Ravi Shastri ad that pushed me to rethink. The Ravi Shastri ad is fresh and one of the most enjoyable- but if it does anything to the business is a question mark. I will any day have the fun Ravi is having then go for the Fun of earning rewards by making Credit card payment on Cred.



Too Much Of Advertising!


That’s too many films in the last two-three years with not much to show in revenue other than valuation. So many celebrities and four format mutations. I may be bowled over with Cred Ravi Shastri for its timing and content. Still, I am stumped at the need and purpose of this considerable advertising.

Thanks to the advertising and some positive word of mouth, the brand enjoys a high recall and decent usage among Credit card users. However, the ad never made me want to check out or download the app. Maybe and hopefully, I am a minority. And perhaps the advertising is more cantered for VC, Investments and valuation.


Cred Not-so-Cred-ible Performance!


It is different when it comes to financials. Cred marketing spends outscore its revenue by huge multiples. It became a Unicorn within two years of launch, and the current expected valuation is around $6 Billion! And it behaved like one burning at a high rate.


Reports tell that Cred had a 95 cr total income and 88.6 revenue from operations in FY 21 (against 18.1 cr and 0.5 cr in FY 20), with total expenses at 619.4 cr and a loss of 523 cr in FY 21 (( against the expense of 3979 Cr and a loss of 361 cr in FY20)! Additionally, the marketing expenses themselves are pegged at 418 cr in FY21.

The brand seems to have launched or substantially grown products, including Cred Max, Cred Cash and Cred Travel which were not pushed aggressively with advertising.


One would here like to believe the founder Kunal Shah, statement: “At Cred, we are constantly working to enhance members’ experience to make it more engaging, frictionless and rewarding. With new design philosophy, gamified rewards constructs, best offers and high value jackpots, we are consolidating our message of rewarding the right financial decisions and the privileges that come by being a member of the Cred community.”


Will Cred Credibility get stronger in the future? We will have to wait and watch? Being Bowled by advertising is bad enough but getting stumped with financials is worse. 


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