DBS Bank India Narrates A Modern Day Story Via Chilli Paneer Film To Keep Social Media Fans Hooked

Aditya Bhatkal
Jan 30, 2015 13:06 IST
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DBS Bank India Narrates A Modern Day Story Via Chilli Paneer Film To Keep Social Media Fans Hooked

Many brands have started exploring the use of video content to engage with their prospective customers. Very few have however been able to get it right. Long form content means demanding more time of the user, this puts the burden on to the story. Unlike TVC’s where you have to share the story in less than 30’s, videos online give the freedom and liberty of time to brands.

DBS Bank in the Chilli Paneer Film has used video content as way to bring out a firm belief and core value of the brand: that of being there for the customer.

It would have been a drag had they picked any other story angle. They used just the right amount of flavours in the video that made the user wanting more. In this article, I will explore various angles of the article.


The brand wanted to showcase how banking and support to take financial decisions is at your finger tips. The message they wanted to convey was that as an Asian bank they believe in not just offering banking solutions but being an integral part of financial decisions of the consumers.


By creating a story around two characters KEN, native to Singapore, and Asha, a foodie from India, the bank displayed everyday emotions around decisions that we make in our lives.

The execution was centred around a series of 4 videos that are short movies released on ">YouTube and on a microsite hosted on DBS bank’s parent site. The 1st YouTube video was season 1 (4 parts/episodes) where Ken and Asha meet in a freak-accident kind of meeting in a ‘DBS bank’ ATM and embark upon a surreal journey of food, culinary adventure and a little bit of cross-cultural adoration. Here’s a snippet of the 1st out of the 4 parts of the Chili Paneer - The  Movie all spanning 4 minutes each. Strongly recommend you see this to understand the rest of what you’re about to read. In fact that’ll also tell you why the movie’s called Chili Paneer in the first place.

Once you see the video DBS bank over the period of 3-4 weeks slowly released season 2 of Chili Paneer. But the twist here was that YOU got to play Ken this time and steer through the story. Follow this video.

In the midst of the video you’ll suddenly see the story stops and options like these pop up.


Let’s assume you choose “Ambitious break”, the movie would continue as per that option and then the next option would look something like this.


And the movie goes on. Won’t reveal all the options, will leave that to you guys to play and explore.

As the movie presents multiple alternatives that you choose yourself the end of the movie gives you a message that comes up due to the responses you gave and what direction you took when you role played Ken on the-microsite. One of them looks something like this.


Don’t forget noticing the different stages that appear below as chosen by you when you play.

The reason why this is so important is because the contest that ran on Facebook asked you to tell DBS Bank India Facebook what kind of personality you are.

Also, the important point here is understanding how well the concept of “Which personality type are you?” was taken a step forward, innovated commendably and was used in a movie as against a simple poll marketed to the TG.

On Facebook there were 3 contests that took place over December 2014 and January 2015 where people were asked to

  1. Put up the personality type that appears in the end of the movie tagging DBS and Chilli Paneer FB pages on their Facebook wall and comment on the status garnering maximum likes and comments– Contest 1
  2. Choose their favourite dialogue from the movie – Contest 2
  3. Pick the third and ideal most location for the restaurant. – Contest 3

Here’s what the contests on Facebook looked like.



On Twitter too they created buzz:

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Of the huge list of positives to this campaign here’s a gist of them all.

  • The videos and story angles had the values and core offerings of the Bank well knitted. The product plugs were not on your face, nothing that would turn the viewer off. It was a part of the story if a bank representative would talk to Ken, or part of a scene if they visited the bank. A viewer would float in and out of the bank’s offerings without even realising in. This is what good marketing can do.
  • The brand used emotions in just the right amount. It made the background setup, Asha’s family, eating of pani-puri etc as local as possible, yet with an Asian touch to it. Cross border love, entrepreneurship, simplicity and other such elements made the short video series a warm one.
  • By allowing the users to play Ken and choose the direction of the video, they didn’t leave it at content consumption but brought in a strong engagement connect. Viewing a story v/s being part of a story has different impacts on the users mind. By allowing the user to choose, the user was empowered to build his own story.

Closing Comments

Not centred around clichéd styles of marketing, this campaign pushed the envelope. Video content is high investment high risk. If the video doesn’t hit the right cord, no amount of media push would make it go viral. But if it creatively enters the interests of people, it has the potential to spread on its own. This is one such campaign. With the right mix of warm emotions, services plug and core message delivery, this campaign becomes a digital marketers dream come true. Especially since it was well taken by consumers.

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