Uncanny similarities in these investment platform ads?

Industry watchers discuss why the recent ads by Groww and KyaTrade seem to be reminiscent of Upstox's spot released in April 2021

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Jun 16, 2021 11:32 AM  | 4 min read
upstox groww kyatrade

Investment platform Upstox had launched its Indian Premier League campaign "Start Karke Dekho" which aims to promote better financial participation in the country by driving home the point that it’s all about just taking the first step. It emphasizes that with Upstox, investing is extremely simple and effortless, right from the first step. The campaign was launched in April of 2021. 

Interestingly, in June 2021, two other brands, Groww and KyaTrade, which also operate in the mobile-first investment space like Upstox, launched ads in a similar vein. As similarities between these ads with the ads that were first conceptualized by Upstox come across as uncanny, industry watchers weighed in on the same.

Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, notes that while the similarity among the ads in the same product category does raise suspicion, he opines that it's just a case of coincidence and nothing more. 

“I can’t imagine that the marketers, the advertising agencies or the filmmakers for either brand would be so stupid as to copy the other. These unfortunate coincidences sometimes do happen by sheer bad luck, and I would tend to believe that this is what happened. The visual similarities in the two films are uncannily close, and the two propositions are almost identical – which is to simplify or easing the process of investing in the stock market," Sinha avers.

However, he points out that there were subtle differences in the core creative ideas. "While the Upstox film’s creative concept is to suggest that it is easier to invest in stocks than being able to touch one’s toes, the KyaTrade ad uses an 'expert advisor' in the form of a gym trainer to represent the app,” remarks Sinha.

The ads from Upstox feature insights from everyday situations. The campaign’s underlying objective is to create financial awareness and foster an investment culture across the country.

Kalyani Srivastava, EVP and Head of Mumbai operations, Rediffusion, observes that taking a dig at your competition or a popular cultural trend has always earned eyeballs.

“For onlookers, they can provide great entertainment. For the media, they create headlines. And for smaller, younger brands, whether it is an extremely attractive and effective strategy, is debatable. Take what Magicpin did with CRED commercials."

KyaTrade taking a dig at Upstox’s proposition is a smartly executed ad, according to Srivastava, who also adds that the executional similarities in their storyboards and even locations can't be missed.

"But, in order to create a strong user base and growing fans, the brand will have to have a long-term, consistent strategy that defines the product promise and value-added services clearly. Will give this a miss over the glorious and invincible cola, car and burger wars,” Srivastava notes. Meanwhile, N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA, opines that several broking app companies lack the marketing and branding expertise needed to conceptualize impactful work. 

“It results in these copy-paste advertisements. The stock trading apps in India today is highly reminiscent of the early days of NSE when online trading just started back in 1994. You could see fresh-into-20s kids at the trading counters buying and selling shares and then discussing their day trades with their friends in the evening. That was literally the Wild West of stock trading in India. Now, the ease of access of trading apps and more disposable incomes, which even the 20-year olds have access to, and Zerodha’s valuation of $3.3bn are leading to a proliferation of apps with every broker worth his salt having one. Broking is a commodity business with few differentiators, and the similarity of ads shows just that. However, to create a brand, something like Sharekhan had done in the early days of online trading, will not come by imitating,” he remarks.

Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika asserts that for any brand to succeed, it should have a brand differentiation. “Familiarity and Similarity don’t build brands. If brands have to ‘ grow ‘ they must ‘ show differences ‘ and ‘glow distinction'. Whether it is ‘market share’ or ‘ share market ‘ position your brand with a distinct identity, with unique core values. ‘ Same ‘ does not give you ‘ fame ‘,” he remarks. 

exchange4media reached out to all the stakeholders involved to get their comment but didn’t get a response until the time of filing this copy.

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