Inside: How a fintech brand plans to recover the investment of featuring 11 cricketers in their campaign


Instead of associating with a team or teams, FinTech company BharatPe created their own team, roping in 11 international cricketers. Subhasis Beura, BharatPe explains how the marketing investment is helping the brand.

Where 60 plus brands are betting big on a particular team or teams of IPL, BharatPe is not an official sponsor or hasn’t signed an exclusive deal with any of the IPL teams. The brand however, signed, 11 cricketers as brand ambassadors.

The likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Shubhman Gill can be seen promoting the brand across social media.

Social Samosa gets in conversation with BharatPe to know more about the campaign, it’s making, and how the cost of 11 brand ambassadors can be broken even.

Making of ‘Hum Hai Team BharatPe’

“The idea came up in an internal discussion,” shares Subhasis Beura, Head- Brand and Commerce, BharatPe.  “The brain-storming session was around how we can leverage marketing to disrupt the cluttered space in IPL, grab eyeballs, and create an impact. We were not in favor of being one of the many sponsors picking up logo placement on jerseys. We wanted to do something different that gets noticed.”

The insight behind the campaign was to extend the brand’s “Indian-ness”. It has “Bharat” in the name, which the brand further reinforced with its re-branding exercise earlier this year, where they chose a visual identity derived from the tri-color.

According to Beura, BharatPe stands for small merchants, so when the teams were thinking about the campaign, they wanted to have a concept that could extend its brand identity and instantly connote a “Team” that stood solidly behind the small merchant.

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“Needless to say, the 1st thing that comes to mind in India on hearing “team” is the “Indian Cricket Team”. Thus the idea of “Team BharatPe” was conceived with 11 Indian International players, which connotes the team of financial products that we have on offer for the small merchants of India,” says Beura.

Taking this theme forward, BharatPe also designed its merchant loyalty program around cricket, where a merchant earns runs with each transaction on BharatPe. The runs can be redeemed to win autographed cricket goodies or even meet the cricket stars.

“It was a challenge to shoot with 11 cricketers, and more so in the times of this pandemic. Our team, along with Bollywood director, Puneet Malhotra, and the production team of ArtE MediaTech did a fabulous job of pulling off the 4 TV commercials in record time,” exclaims Beura.

Large scale Production

With highly-valued cricketers like Rohit Sharma and 10 others featuring in the campaign that was shot across 6 states in 2 countries, BharatPe had allocated budgets in the range of INR 15-20 crores.

The challenge multiplied manifold with the lockdown and the pandemic. The team had to ensure that all safety protocols were followed while they shot at multiple locations. “It is a work of collaborative effort, ensuring all facets coming together beautifully, be it player management, logistics, organization, and filming,” asserts Beura.

Social Media Play

The 11 Cricket stars have been actively promoting our message on their various social media handles leveraging their huge fan base to help connect with merchants, communicate the brand’s proposition, build brand credibility, and help enhance engagement with the merchant community.

BharatPe has tried to keep the relevance of the brand in tandem with its messaging around financial and business services offered by the company featuring the cricketers.

Hashtags such as #TeamBharatPe, #CheerForTeamBharatPe, #IskoLagaoDhandaBadhao, #SirfDukandarKeLiye have been used to amplify the core thought across social media platforms. The brand has been actively spinning content around topical moments, festive occasions and engaging its consumers through contests and quizzes.

The Response

According to Beura, the platform is seeing a steady increase in its daily transactions, active merchants, and app downloads post the start of this campaign.

He further informs, “In October 2020, we clocked INR 100 crores monthly disbursal. We also clocked INR 100 crores per day in transactions, an annualized TPV of more than $5 billion. We also crossed 2 million transactions per day.”

While it is difficult to generalize, it won’t be wrong to say that the recovery of investments will depend on the industry one plays in, thinks Beura. “We for one are close to our pre-covid numbers across parameters. This may not be the case with other industries. However, I see things improving in the near future as India unlocks itself and businesses will be back on track very soon,” he adds.

Media Mix

BharatPe’s marketing mix includes TV, digital, OOH, and Radio in selected cities. The company’s objective is to connect with the merchant community and hence, it picks and chooses the right channel depending on the customer behavior (especially in the regional markets). In addition to the traditional media already mentioned, it also uses in-app communication, WhatsApp, and cricket-themed loyalty programs to engage with its merchant base on a consistent basis.

Trends to Foresee

Beura thinks this is the time where the digital adoption by marketing across categories will be accelerated and the weightage of digital will go up in marketing plans.

Another trend that he foresees is that traditional small borrowers will move to digital and more specifically towards the “phone” to get their credit requirements fulfilled. “The task of marketing will be to educate and onboard these customers in a seamless manner,” he concludes.