Inside: An ad created at home for a bank account that can be opened from home

Kotak Mahindra Bank

Conceptualized, directed, and filmed at home, Kotak Mahindra Bank’s campaign starring Ranveer Singh is an initiative that enables customers to open a Kotak 811 savings account in a completely digital, paperless, and zero-contact manner from home.

After championing inclusive banking with #IndiaInvited in 2018 followed by a sequel #DreamsInvited celebrating the audacious dreams of billion-plus Indians, Kotak Mahindra Bank has teamed up with Ranveer Singh yet again this time to encourage India to #BankFromHome.

As a part of Kotak’s larger ‘Bank from Home’ initiative, Kotak 811, is a digital savings account provides customers with a zero-contact video KYC facility to open a full KYC, full-service 811 savings account instantly from the comfort and safety of one’s home.

About the film

Conceptualized at home by Cartwheel Creative Consultancy, directed from home by Keroscene Films and filmed by Ranveer Singh at his home using his mobile phone, the film features the actor going through the Video KYC process quickly and effortlessly with a bank executive and, once done, being welcomed to the world of Kotak 811. Owing to the lockdown, the film was shot on a mobile phone making Ranveer his own spot boy, cameraman, make-up man, and director!

The underlying theme of the campaign is to convey that with Video KYC, verification of KYC documents and recording of the customer’s signature are completed via a video call with the bank, eliminating the need for a visit to the branch or in-person interaction, biometric verification or sharing of physical documents. After the Video KYC is completed, the customer gets a full-fledged bank account with no restrictions on deposits or account balances. 

Campaign Insight

We are amidst an unprecedented situation with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting traditional banking channels. Banks, as essential service providers, play a critical role in delivering uninterrupted service to customers and our branches and ATMs have been operational all through the lockdown.

“However, we have been advising and encouraging our customers to stay safe and bank from home, using the range of Kotak’s digital banking channels at their fingertips. The Video KYC 811 Savings Account is a part of our Bank from Home initiative and another step towards keeping our customers safe and giving them a seamless banking experience,” shares Elizabeth Venkataraman, Joint President – Consumer, Commercial & Wealth Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

The new campaign aims to highlight the simplicity of the Video KYC process with a dash of humor.

The Big Brief

The brief given to Cartwheel Creative Consultancy Pvt. Ltd was to communicate that Kotak is the first bank to offer customers the benefit of a contactless account opening process in these troubled times forced upon us by the pandemic. A secondary objective was to build on the aura of 811 as an innovative digital brand.

Filming the Campaign- From Ideation to Execution

The team at Cartwheel Creative Consultancy decided that the brand should prove its relevance during the pandemic, not merely with thematic messaging, but with an actual product story and a genuine benefit. They decided to take advantage of the actual process of the video KYC itself, and rely on Ranveer’s ebullience and personality to add enjoyment to the communication.

Ramakrishna (Ramki) Desiraju, Founder & Creative Director, Cartwheel Creative Consultancy Pvt. Ltd shares further, “Once we decided that the video verification call was going to be the main substance of the film, it was then just a matter of clever scripting and leaving enough room for Ranveer to let his personality shine through.”

Staying true to the spirit of the lockdown, the film was conceptualized, directed, and executed entirely from home. There is an uncanny parallel between the two – a service that helps millions bank from home and an ad campaign that was conceived and completed at home.

Venkataraman adds, “Throughout the film, one can enjoy the entertaining dialogue between two unlikely participants – the polite Kotak executive performing a routine service call and the candid superstar enjoying facing the camera once again. We decided to let Ranveer be his irrepressible self during the call – full of energy, surprises, and humor, thus elevating a mechanical banking process into a fun interaction. Ranveer took all the shots needed for the film according to the script and directions and improvised as only he could.”

While the actor did his part, the production house Keroscene Films, and the director, Rajesh Saathi, made a detailed storyboard along with recommended settings of the iPhone for Ranveer to shoot himself. The character of the executive, played by Prachi Saathi, was shot separately, also on iPhone. Some post-production work was involved to create the office environment of the executive, and the picture in picture screen of the video call.

Distant brainstorming and key challenges

“Working under constraints has actually inspired the client and agency to take greater risks with the scripting and execution than in normal times,” observes Desiraju.

He also informs that there were many challenges in communication between the various parties involved, and technology hurdles in transferring the shots taken. But with precise planning and clear directions, these problems were efficiently overcome. “It is critical that everyone involved in the process takes a leap of faith and trusts the others’ abilities,” he stresses.

Whether it was brainstorming, insight gathering, or production, the teams were all connected remotely through digital channels. The campaign execution process emulated the same approach like that of the campaign — staying socially connected but physically distanced.

As social distancing & remote working might become the new normal, commenting on the kind of fundamentals to be in place to ensure smooth functioning on a creative front, Desiraju opines that Pre-production, planning, and clear setting of expectations will become exceedingly important as we go forward. “One doesn’t have the luxury of sorting things out on the shooting floor or at the post-production studio. Everything has to be thought through in advance. This is a great discipline for us to inculcate.”

The Digital Strategy

Ever since the emergence of COVID-19, Kotak has been encouraging customers to ‘Bank From Home’ with digital initiatives in place. 

Over the last few years, Kotak as a brand has been pursuing a digital-first strategy with Kotak 811, touted as an all-in-one Mobile Banking App that lets you save, invest, borrow and shop, WhatsApp Banking, Keya voice bot and chatbot and now the Video KYC facility.

The new homebound economy has changed media consumption patterns. Customers are now using social media for distraction, engagement, and information. “By continuously monitoring the shifting customer trends on social media, we are able to engage with our audience and drive positive brand impressions,” says Venkataraman.

Under it’s ‘Bank From Home’ initiative, the bank has launched various campaigns in multiple media formats to support and educate its customers on digital banking and safe banking practices. It also claims to have taken a high impact digital-first approach (including social media) for this campaign on Video KYC.

Also Read: Inside: ‘Chain of Protection’ by Savlon & it’s impact

The brand is also pro-actively putting out messages of positivity through its #HumansOfKotak series where it seeks to connect with the consumers emotionally. The activity also pays an ode to the empathetic humans helping to save the world – amplifying their bravery tales through hashtags #LockdownHeroes, #LockdownStories, and #coronawarriors.

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"The change in the city's pace is the most noticeable thing. Earlier, even the 80 km journey from my home in Indore to the Kotak Mahindra Bank branch in Dhar would be lively. Now, I'm usually one of the few people on the streets. Recently an old customer had visited our branch for a cash deposit. He opened up about how he was worried about his health, especially since he was diabetic and needed insulin regularly. He mentioned that there wasn't enough supply in the market. I could see the worry on his face. In light of the current scenario, me and my colleagues have consciously made a decision to look out for others. I knew I had to do something for him. The next day I went to Indore's Dawa Bazaar to see if I could find his medicine. Since bank employees are considered essential service workers, I was allowed inside the heavily barricaded area. I found what I needed at a wholesale stockist's store. My next task was to deliver the medicine to my customer. The next day, I drove to Dhar with an ice-box containing the insulin and gave it to our customer. The look on his face was something I'll never forget! In these uncertain times, I'm really glad that I could help someone in need. We need to remember that now, more than ever before, we must think of our communities and be kind." – Jugnu Arya (Branch Manager, Dhar, Madhya Pradesh) . . . #HumansOfKotak #EmployeeStories #KotakStories #Lockdown #lockdownindia  #LockdownStories #LockdownHero #corona #coronawarriors

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Kotak Mahindra Bank, other than banking on thematic campaigns, has also been hinging on topical posts and moment marketing creatives adding its own quirky touch to the creatives and smartly integrating the brand purpose.

Keeping in mind the work from home situation enforced due to the lockdown and connectivity issues coupled with many other challenges, Kotak is parallelly promoting #DigitalBanking and #BankingFromHome encouraging consumers for net banking in these times.

Media Mix and content hookups

Owing to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a fundamental shift in customer behavior. The bank is now focusing on supporting its customers through these trying times by giving them the tools to bank from home. Kotak Mahindra Bank has usually followed an integrated approach for it’s earlier campaigns to maximize effectiveness; however, in the present scenario, it is taking a digital-first approach and optimizing the media channels for high reach and impact.

Venkataraman emphasizes that the brand’s communication strategy has always revolved around being relatable and inclusive. 

Maintaining client-agency bond remotely

A strong relationship based on mutual trust and commitment to creating great communication can survive any challenge. Ensuring that the client-agency relationship isn’t hampered with distance working, Desiraju thinks that it’s important that we all learn to have faith in everyone else in the chain. Even before the pandemic, clients and agencies had started working remotely and communicating via digital media. This has only accelerated the process.

Relooking the Marketing strategy

“As a brand, we have always taken the outside-in approach; putting our customers at the front and center of our marketing strategy. While our customers remain the source of our inspiration, the pre-COVID-19 strategies for marketing and communication are no longer relevant in the current scenario,” shares Venkataraman.

In these times of physical distancing, the brand is adapting to strategies according to the constantly evolving customer. It is now focusing on providing support and continuously engaging with our customers while ensuring a unified and seamless experience across channels. The intent is to support and build strong connections with them through relevant empathetic content.


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