This Indian FinTech ad’s breaking the Internet! Here’s why!

The CRED app ad is refreshing twist to celebrity marketing and viral branding.

The latest internet sensation is not another winking girl or chocolate boy. It is a 48-year-old retired Indian cricketer, Rahul Dravid, a charming person who is famous for his patience. But it is not his patience that people are talking about now. They are raving over his brand new avatar.

The new Cred Ad

Rahul Dravid is donning a new avatar as a short-tempered, frustrated Bangalorean stuck in its infamous traffic lanes. He is losing his cool, yelling at everyone around, and throwing tantrums that includes breaking the side-view mirror. Everyone knows Jammy, as Dravid is fondly referred to, as a calm person who is never known to lose his cool. All the more, he is mocked as the nicest guy on the Indian cricket team ever who would apologize to a worm if he ever hurt one.

Here is the ad for you — Great for Good, ft Rahul Dravid. The ad was shot by Ayappa CM and co-written by Tanmay Bhat and Vishal Dayama, known for their satire.

Source: YouTube, Cred’s channel

Wicked, isn’t it?!

It was Cred, which brought this image of his.

Cred is an Indian credit card management and payment company with a valuation of over 2 billion USD as of March 2021. It offers rewards on credit card payments, which is its Unique Selling Point (USP). Its founder Kunal Shah, is a serial entrepreneur who founded FreeCharge a similar fintech startup that aimed at recharging mobile phones and earning rewards for the same. His early plight of financial woes helped him to ideate and innovate in the FinTech field.

Cred App currently boasts having around 6 million users and 20% of all credit card bill processing in India. The statistics are startling for a company that was founded in 2018 and reaching unicorn status in less than 3 years.

What more, the rise through the ranks is credible with CRED being the official sponsor for the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021). IPL is touted as the cricketing world’s biggest sporting league. Valued at 4.4 billion USD it is said as the world’s sixth-largest sporting league. It had a viewership of over 400 million in the year 2020 due to Lockdown. It is expected to have a similar level of viewership expected this year too due to the night curfews imposed in India due to the second wave of Covid-19.

The Cred Ad gave celebrity advertising a much-needed twist. Involving people from different fields is not new. For example, the recent Jio advertisement, where cricketers and film fraternity yet again join hands together. The only thing the Cred Ad did differently was the timing and placement of the advertisement and giving Rahul Dravid a character, which is completely opposite of his reality.

Here are my takes on why the Ad worked!

In my opinion, by breaking the typecast, Cred is projecting the brand’s USP — of shattering the conventionality of credit card billings, constant reminders, and to top it all the penalties that accompany delayed payment.

When Jim Sarbh explains about Cred Coins and goes on to add — “sounds ridiculous right? It is like saying Rahul Dravid has anger issues”. The ad cuts to show Dravid blasting at people in a traffic jam, just to tell us that no, it is not ridiculous. It no longer seems crazy, insane, and unbelievable that Dravid can lose his cool similar to Cred Coins, which are tangibly believable and real.

Secondly, Rahul Dravid is not on social media. Hence, the ad could break the Internet by putting up their ad on social media platforms first instead of the Television.

When a person without any social media presence suddenly makes an appearance, it is bound to be a runaway hit. Furthermore, the majority of the world uses social media more than TV for memes. The best leverage was gained, by the ripple effect of “Word of Mouth” Marketing.

Famous personalities across social media handles, retweeted, reshared, created memes, and sometimes trolled themselves by tweaking the line –“Indiranagar ka gunda hoon main” (I am the rowdy of Indira Nagar (a locality in Bangalore)).

Thirdly, it is how much relatable the idea of losing our temper in Bangalore traffic is.

The ad clearly reflected the thoughts running in everyone’s mind while sitting in a damp car, moving inch by inch on a packed road, trying to rally ourselves against the first innocent person that crosses our path. Relatability, seeds empathy. Empathy increases the attachment to a brand, without any personalized marketing.

Next, not a single word on Cred is uttered by Rahul Dravid, who is the main protagonist of this ad.

The makers would have categorically kept him as the star cast and the narrator as Jim Sarbh. They also would have anticipated a wider reach just because of his presence and act. There, they chose not to have a call for action. Masterstroke, according to me. If there had been a call to action within that space, the reach would not have been that powerful.

The ad broke barriers. They made the actor narrate and a cricketer act, which is a contrast to what happens in other brand ventures.

Here are some numbers for you -

All these points just oppose the basic meters of celebrity brand advertisement.
This ad has crossed 2 million views on YouTube where Cred has just over 56K subscribers. The virality of the ad can be majorly attributed to the Twitteratis. Cred has not explicitly shared the ad on its Twitter account. Instead, it chose to requote a famous international Indian cricketer’s tweet, with a “never meet your heroes”. The famous personality has 41 million followers which are more than three times Cred’s followers. The platform for launch played its part perfectly. The person’s tweet was retweeted around 23K retweets and approximately 6.3K quoted tweets.

This ripple effect may be coincidental or planned. I see the entire campaign as having three stalwarts in it, two featuring, one promoting.
What more, other famous personalities started the troll roll. Here are a few memes here. What started as branding went ahead as meme marketing — the best form for the current generation of social media hoggers.
Here are some best tweets and memes.

Though the ad received a lot of accolades, it is still dubious if Cred can convert its virality into a product audience. All the above-mentioned text directly relates to the ad only. The ad achieved its intent of virality. However, does it embellish Cred as a brand and identity?

The other advertisements as a part of the Indian Premier League have not able to rank as high as this ad. The ones which have crossed the Cred ad are the IPL’s ads, which have crossed over 11 million views. They were released more than a month back. Forecasting, the Cred ad too has touched such heights.

We near the End: Conclusion
Here are my two cents-

  1. It is easy to make an ad viral, however, it is difficult to make a brand equally popular.
  2. Brands should try to convert the ad’s views into the stickiness of customers. This will eventually make them stay with your product longer.
  3. Don’t shout your product’s purpose. Just tell it out clearly and concisely. Never use fancy words to explain the same.
  4. Timing of the ad release is important.
  5. If the ad is not giving the returns anticipated, better turn to some other strategy like personalized marketing.

Resources Used:

  1. Image and meme sources from Twitter.
  2. Internet

About the Author: Vijayalakshmi Swaminathan is a bored engineer, who is a fan girl of a highest order of a particular Tamil movie called OK Kanmani.

I read, learn and create! Always up for engaging conversations about anything! Do connect with me on https://www.linkedin.com/in/vijayalakshmiswaminathan/