Think of mutual funds advertisements and the disclaimer announced with lightning fast speed: ‘Mutual Fund investments are sub¬ject to mar¬ket risk, please read the offer doc¬u¬ment care¬fully before invest¬ing’ echoes in your mind.
From a single player market in 1963 to 44 players at present, the mutual funds industry has grown rapidly in India. As per KPMG’s report on the Indian Mutual Fund Industry - Outlook for 2015, India has been amongst the fastest growing markets for mutual funds since 2004, witnessing a CAGR of 29 per cent in the five-year period from 2004 to 2008 as against the global average of 4 per cent. The increase in revenue and profitability, however, has not been commensurate with this growth and the report highlights low customer awareness levels and financial literacy as the biggest challenge to channelising household savings into mutual funds. Addressing the need, the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) has launched a new campaign - ‘Mutual Fund – Saving ka naya tareeka’ - to change the mindset of investors, portraying mutual funds as the new tool for saving. The campaign has been strategised and created by Publicis Capital Mumbai and has four TVCs currently on air as part of it.
Client: Association of Mutual funds in India (AMFI)
Product: Mutual Funds
Agency: Publicis Capital Mumbai
The campaign has been ideated with the single aim of increasing the penetration of mutual funds in India. Comprising four TVCs, the campaign addresses the basic question in a common man's mind about 'investing' and the risks associated with it.
Speaking on the creative thought behind the campaign, Emmanuel Upputuru, National Creative Director, Publicis Capital, said, “Most of the financial instrument brands, if not all, sell big dreams - big house, big car, children's education, marriage, etc. While working on this campaign, we realised the only way this campaign could work is if it looks and sounds like a neutral party telling about mutual funds. The whole idea was to create an educational campaign dispelling myths and fears associated with mutual funds.”
Tanuja Goyal, Creative Director, Publicis Capital, who also wrote the scripts along with Upputuru, added, "The unique part of this campaign is that it doesn't try to sell a particular brand of mutual funds. It is an attempt to shift a very strong mindset - from mutual funds being perceived as an investment tool to a means of saving money. Each film is a simple argument made by a sincere protagonist to convince the viewer about the benefits of mutual funds.”
This is the first time AMFI has come up with a dedicated campaign with commercials to enlighten investors about mutual funds. The organisation had been reaching out to its target audience usually through camps before this.
Sharing the objective behind the campaign, V Ramesh, Deputy CEO, AMFI, told exchange4media, “The objective clearly is that mutual fund as an asset class needs to be part of every person’s savings kitty, which would effectively mean that it is not a mere investment, but more of savings. There was a need to demystify mutual funds from various myths associated with it by people and the campaign aims to do that.”
Mutual funds as ‘Savings Ka Naya Tarika’ is quite an ambitious try, believes Anuja Chauhan, author, screen-writer and advertising consultant and Ex-VP & ECD, JWT. She added, “The ads are nicely made. A little too pat, but there’s an intimate feel to them. The agency planners are trying to make mutual funds synonymous with savings - which is quite an ambitious leap to try for. It is like saying "beautiful skin is wheatish skin" - sounds nice, but Indians won't buy it too easily.”
Ask Ravinder Siwach, ECD, Ignite Mudra, about the campaign and pat comes his reply, “Looking at the ads, a strong argument in favour of investing in mutual funds is missing - I wonder why, when there's so much that could have been said. Saying something like 'Mutual funds average out the market risks and still give you good returns' or 'for a healthy investment portfolio, you need to vary your investment over different investment instruments, so how about mutual funds gentlemen!?' would have been great. What these ads do is just tell me 'there's a new way to save'. Save? I'd reckon people are more interested in growing their money - better tell them how mutual funds are a wise instrument for growing their overall wealth.”
So did the ads succeed in convincing them to save through mutual funds?
“Not me. As far as I'm concerned saving is fixed deposits and insurance policies. Mutual funds come with a big fat disclaimer: Mutual-fund-investments-are-subject-to-market-risks-Please-read-the-offer-document- carefully-before-investing, which is hard to ignore,” accepts Chauhan.
Siwach, too, does not seem to be sold on the idea as he states, “I don’t think there is any argument there for me to switch. It, in fact, sounds more like a plea that goes, 'please, please invest in mutual funds'.”
The ads definitely have certain intimacy in them, probably due to the everyday life situations discussed and simplicity of the script. The protagonist presents the argument in a subtle manner without hard-selling or pushing, which is good, but to change the age old perception of people about an investment tool is not an easy task. The ad thus, may or may not appeal to the audience. One can’t deny the fact that people eventually look for sure returns/ growth when it comes to savings, which mutual funds do not promise. Change is usually uncomfortable, whether people change over to ‘savings ka naya tareeka’ – we will have to see. For now, even this ad runs with the disclaimer…
Anuja: 3 out of 5 (Injection), 2 out of 5 (Aadat, Chaddar), 0 out of 5 (Murgi ya Anda)
Ravinder: 2.5 out of 5
e4m: 3.5 out of 5