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NEW DELHI : Former cricketer Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid, unflappable on the field, has anger issues on Bengaluru’s roads. And Bollywood hunk Jackie Shroff secretly loves Zumba.

With two viral ads in the early days of the new season of the Indian Premier League, fintech platform Cred is off to a great start in the creative sweepstakes.

Notably, the team behind the viral creatives is not an agency or a known collective. It’s a bespoke team brought together for the project. Although the agency DDB Mudra was involved in the creation, the choice of writers says something about the increasing need for creatives to work well on digital mediums. It’s a group of writers and creators once associated with the comedy outfit All India Bakchod (AIB), including Tanmay Bhat, Devaiah Bopanna, Puneet Chadha, Nupur Pai and Vishal Dayama. Some of them are trained advertising and media professionals. Bopanna, for instance, spent seven years in agencies such as Ogilvy, Lowe Lintas and Mudra before joining AIB. He now runs independent media firm All Things Small (ATS), focused on publishing non-fiction stories across platforms while taking up consulting projects like Cred.

Nupur Pai, a co-writer for the Netflix series Little Things (seasons 3 and 4), has advertising roots, having worked at FCB Global and Publicis Groupe as a copywriter.

Dayama did a brief stint as a brand manager before joining AIB, and Bhat himself did television writing in channels such as UTV Bindass, MTV and Disney India before turning to YouTube. He’s now an independent digital creator. Chadha was a software engineer before the writing bug bit him as she switched to work as a writer at AIB. Ayappa K.M. of Mumbai-based production house Early Man Films directed the new ads.

For Cred, they have leveraged yesteryears’ stars and their nostalgic appeal, using them in cheeky and surprising ways.

Cred said its current campaign has more ads in the pipeline but declined to participate in the story. Bhat did not respond to Mint’s queries.

“These are the people who have created a lot of content that gets traction on social (media). They intrinsically come from a place where they decide what will get people talking on social media. Therefore, the filter is more from the content lens, what works online and can get viral," said Arun Iyer, an advertising veteran and founding partner of Spring Marketing Capital. “I believe they are targeting urban Indians who not only own credit cards but also use them actively, so much so that they need a platform like Cred to help them pay the bills."

In 2020, the platform brought veteran Bollywood celebs Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, Govinda and composer Bappi Lahiri for a series of ads in which these actors were seen auditioning for the Cred campaign and not making the cut. The campaign ended up poking fun at advertisers’ obsession with celebrity advertising. Most of the team behind the current ads were involved with that effort as well.

"Tanmay and his team draw from their reservoir of quirky humour to craft scripts - something that's evident across all CRED campaigns. They've also made good use of celebrities. The Cred brand of humour is also sophisticated and in line with the brand’s TG - who are upmarket urban Indians. Which is why, the ad begins with a sharply dressed Jim Sarbh sitting in a premium-looking lounge, talking about CRED's benefits." said Sambit Mohanty, Head of Creative, McCann Worldgroup.

Mohanty thinks that as a relatively new brand, CRED's focus to increase awareness about the platform is being met through such engaging campaigns. Awareness leading to consideration and purchase (app download in CRED’s case) is something that the brand must be planning for, going forward.

According to him, to pose competition to mainline ad agencies, the real challenge for the team would be to move out of their comfort zone and write scripts which are more emotion-led such as the Maggi or Tanishq ads.

“It’s too early to comment on whether they are competition. Whatever work I have seen from the AIB team has mostly come from humour. I believe humour is just one of the many arrows an agency has in its creative quiver. We are far better equipped to handle storytelling across a gamut of emotions," Mohanty added.

“CRED is extremely intrusive as a service asking for access to user’s financial data in exchange of rewards which are peanuts. On top of it, their advertising has turned a financial product into a joke. The company needs to seriously look at the category that they are in and if they can afford to be a jester. It seems like CRED is happy with the number of searches they might be getting online," said Naresh Gupta, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Bang In The Middle.

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