Case Study: How HDFC Bank created Vigil Aunty to educate people on financial fraud

Shamita Islur
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Vigil Aunty

This case study shared with us by FCB Kinnect’s Ishaan Balvani at #SMLive 2023, explores the process of creating an influencer/superhero to inform people about financial frauds and reach the vast target audience that would be relatable for all.

Walking us through the process of creating an influencer to educate people on financial frauds called Vigil Aunty, Ishaan Balvani, Creative Director, FCB Kinnect spoke at the 7th edition of #SMLive.


HDFC Bank had an existing Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign ‘Mooh Bandh Rakho’ that needed to be refreshed. The private sector bank wanted to keep up with the RBI’s mandate of educating the public about financial fraud and collaborated with FCB Kinnect for the same.

Balvani said, “The brief given to us was that the brand needed a quick and prompt medium to alert the audience of the fraudulent behaviour in the finance sector.” The agency was also asked to target every Indian. 

Creative Idea

As the team sat for a brainstorming session, they gathered insights into the mindset of fellow Indians. Studies have shown that Indians are frugal when it comes to money and yet 42% of them have experienced financial fraud in the last three years and an estimated 72% still haven’t recovered the money. 

Balvani felt that one of the reasons why fraudsters are winning is because of the influx of technology, with UPI, QR codes and new emerging frauds which makes it difficult to keep track of them. 

“Indians have stopped listening to conventional ways of education, so we needed someone who could entertain them in an educational way and could keep up with the ever-evolving frauds,” said Balvani.  

Since the target audience was vast from the older generation who aren’t as tech-savvy to younger people who probably just started getting their first salary, they needed to come up with an innovative character.  

The idea was to save people from fraudsters but this time using a viral trend which led to Vigil Aunty. 

Also Read: #SMLive: Daksh Sharma on AI marketing beyond ChatGPT

Origin story for Vigil Aunty

Society loves the idea of a superhero or a vigilante protecting them and a look at the target audience showed that youngsters while struggling to listen to their own parents might be open to listening to a friend’s parents whom they respectfully call ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’. 

When it comes to the older generation, well they are likely to listen to other uncles and aunties, who are the ‘voice of reason and security’ in the society. This set the foundation for Vigil Aunty (which comes from vigilante).

“The origin story of Vigil Aunty was essential to set the tone of the viral influencer, which was quirky and upbeat,” said Balvani. 

The character came from the South of India because HDFC Bank’s big demographic comes from the South. Her ‘Vigil Suit’ has a saree with a pallu that signifies a superhero cape with a bindi called the ‘Vigil Symbol’ that has a stop sign indicating to be beware. To add a touch of the cool factor that keeps shady people away, she has sunglasses, a smartwatch and trendy shoes. 


The launch of Vigil Aunty happened during a movie’s intermission where the audience was asked to scan a QR code for free ‘Pop Con’. The ones who ended up scanning it got an important message by Vigil Aunty herself who informed them about frauds that occur due to QR codes. 

“To further generate buzz around the campaign, influencer reach and a talk show concept was created among other segments,” continued Balvani.

Through influencer campaigns with creators like Saloni Gaur, and Viraj Ghelani, joining hands with actor Shivaji Satam who played the popular ACP Pradyuman on C.I.D. and reels, they focused on storytelling. 

Since WhatsApp also happens to be where the older generation tends to believe forwarded messages, Balvani also mentioned it was one of the social platforms that were a constant point of reach for the campaign and the brand.

Overall, the campaign garnered 26% positive sentiments throughout social media.

  • Views - 217 million
  • Reach - 146 million
  • Followers - 2 million
  • WhatsApp followers - 146 million
  • Engagement Rate - 22%

Ishaan Balvani shared his thoughts at the 7th edition of #SMLive, Social Samosa’s marquee virtual conference, organised on World Social Media Day.

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