Khatabook ad: Finally an IPL spot that hits a creative sixer?

The ads feature M S Dhoni in never-seen-before avatars aimed at communicating three unique features of the brand

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 9:23 AM

The pandemic has thrown in a ream of challenges for brands and advertisers and continues to do so. IPL, over the years might have been an advertiser’s paradise but a lot seems to have changed in a couple of ways this year, given the roadblocks brands and agencies have to counter, given the pandemic-led production and executional limitations. And rightly, not many seem to have struck the right chord. Meanwhile Indian fintech startup Khatabook too is here with some interesting ads featuring former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in three never seen before avatars to communicate three unique features of the brand.

Khatabook is one of the associate sponsors of IPL 2020. In the ads, Dhoni is seen pulling off different characters from Sharmile Sharmaji to Techno Tawde in the ads and showcasing distinct features of the Khatabook. As the brand makes its IPL debut this year, we ask industry observers whether the ad manages to hit a creative sizer with its ads.

Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting feels full credit to Khatabook for the ad, especially the decision to cast MS Dhoni as not himself. “This unexpected move helps the brand stand out amidst the clutter of celebrity endorsement cliches. It also highlights the multifaceted talent of Dhoni as he gets a chance to demonstrate his acting chops by effortlessly slipping into the role of playing another character. Brave move by the brand and it pays off,” Sinha observes.

Khatabook, just like its literal meaning in Hindi, is an account book for small and medium businesses. The business app helps business owners keep a check on their accounts, digitally.

Sanjay Mehta, joint chief executive officer, Mirum India feels that this is a good attempt to break the clutter and get noticed. “Definitely Dhoni is shown in a very different avatar, and the scripts are also interesting,” he comments.

Earlier in March 2020, MS Dhoni had invested an undisclosed amount in the startup and is also the brand ambassador for the company.

Jagdish Acharya, Founder-Creative Head, Cut The Crap opines that Khatabook’s ads are packaged like smart and whacky capers but are essentially demo films. Creatively they only score by catching your attention. However, this is purpose served for this stage as KB is a differentiated product targeting a sharply defined segment,” Acharya notes.

Priya Gurnani, Senior Creative Director Publicis Mumbai too feels that it is a good functional ad. However she adds, “The ad would have worked without Dhoni too. It’s the introduction of a new payment method and in a new way. Anything new is always eye catching.”

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