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SBI’s new campaign for its debit cards reinforces the security plank

14-March-2006
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SBI’s new campaign for its debit cards reinforces the security plank

The State Bank of India (SBI) is aiming at occupying the debit card segment in a significant way, and one key step in this direction is its latest campaign released last week. The communication, designed by Mudra, is carried across mediums and will be on-air for over six weeks.

For SBI, this is a significant move as the bank is a large issuer of debit cards in the country, with a customer base of over 14 million, and this is the first time they have embarked on a mass media campaign for debit cards.

Mudra’s Sukumar Menon (Creative Director on the campaign) divulged that the creative brief given was based on the belief that Indian consumers at large weren’t aware of debit cards as a segment. “There is some work done by some players, but that really haven’t been done on a scale or even in a manner that a dent could be made in the category or debit cards as a segment could be established in India,” he pointed out.

The objective of the campaign was two-fold – to establish the debit card segment and to enforce SBI’s position as a key player and “to occupy the debit card space completely in the consumer mindshare”, Menon said. “The first thing debit cards imply is not having the need to carry cash and only SBI with its footprint in the country can make a claim of being able to give a ‘cashless’ life,” he added.

With this, the challenge presented to the agency was to treat debit cards as a new entity and create awareness around it, and in the process, convince people that all they need was a debit card for majority of cash transactions, which was also a safer way of living. “The creative idea sprung more from the safety aspect,” informed Menon, as he spoke on the manner in which the agency went about getting the creative strategy right.

“When we began, we wanted something that was universal, considering SBI isn’t just a metro specific bank. We were looking for an image or idea that cuts across everyone and of course, we were thinking on the lines of what does debit card affect the most, why would anyone keep a debit card? The singlemost reason here was security. Another thought playing was the usual ‘beware of pickpocket’ signs that one sees in various public places and we realised that the marriage of the two made for an effective creative,” Menon explained.

The ad shows a pickpocket rendered jobless and earning his daily wage through handy jobs. “Imagine it! If everyone carried a debit card, what would the pickpockets ever get? It makes perfect sense for this product and clinched the idea,” he further said.

At present, the campaign has been executed across print, outdoor and television. Menon informed that the radio ideas were also in place and some action would be soon seen in that medium as well.

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