Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh in a Kotak Mahindra ad.
Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh in a Kotak Mahindra ad.

Kotak Mahindra Bank’s ad campaign with Ranveer Singh centres on inclusivity

Kotak Mahindra Bank's ad campaign featuring actor Ranveer Singh talks about how our society often discriminates people on the basis of religion, caste, creed, sexual orientation and abilities

New Delhi: Kotak Mahindra Bank, which hinges its communication on diversity and progress, is back with a new campaign featuring Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh talking about social inclusivity. The ad, which promotes digital bank service 811 launched in March last year, talks about how our society often discriminates people on the basis of religion, caste, creed, sexual orientation and abilities.

Made by advertising agency Cartwheel Creative, the 30-second long spot shot at the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in Mumbai, captures real life nuances. The protagonist of the story is ‘the bench at the railway station’ and Singh dons the role of the bard (sutradhar). The story voices similarities between Kotak’s 811 service and a bench at a railway station which provides services to everyone irrespective of where they come from.

811 allows people to open a zero-balance digital bank account which gives up to 6% per annum interest to every citizen of the country. The account can be opened through an app without physically visiting the bank branch.

“We saw a unique opportunity to reinforce our pride in India’s diversity, as well as our unstinting support for people from all walks of life with this outing, and we grabbed it with both hands. We believe that a digital India is a truly democratic India, and 811 can and must play a vital role in the financial ecosystem, enabling every single Indian to access and use cutting edge banking products and services," said Karthi Marshan, chief marketing officer, Kotak Mahindra Group.

811 targets first time banking customers who find it difficult to deal with a conventional bank set-up (mostly teenagers and first jobbers), differently-abled or people left out by society for a wide variety of reasons.

Kotak has always hinged it’s communication on diversity and progress with a belief that big brands have the ability and opportunity, and therefore the responsibility to help mould attitudes.

“For instance, when the bank was launched, we challenged conventional notions by talking about creating wealth for the daughter’s education and the son’s wedding instead of the opposite. More recently, to announce the merger with ING Vysya Bank, we launched a campaign titled Kona Kona Kotak, that celebrated the varied and diverse stories of progress from across the country," added Marshan.

The current campaign which is currently being promoted across television, cinema, outdoor, print as well as other leading digital video platforms.

“The theme of inclusivity came naturally since the product in itself is pre-inclusive. Also, the divisive climate we are living in it was only relevant and appropriate to highlight inclusivity. To amplify this message further we decided to involve Ranveer Singh who, in a way, is an outlier," D Ramki, co-founder, Cartwheel Creative.

According to Robby Mathew, chief creative officer at advertising agency FCB Interface the Kotak ad is different ad which will add immense value to the brand.

“I loved the way it is shot and the choice of Ranveer Singh as the face of this service is perfect as he’s a bit of an odd ball himself and stands out in any situation," he said.

However, Mathew feels that the television commercial is slightly exaggerated in terms of narrative.

“I don’t think banks are non-inclusive unlike certain restaurants and pubs where you have to dress a certain way to gain access. Kotak might be trying to break the clutter in banking sector advertising, which is mostly about interest rates, minimal balance and convenience, by taking a high round," he added.