John Wanamaker’s famous quotation on advertising is vindicated. One of the longest running campaigns in recent times is the State Bank of India’s ‘Banker to every Indian’ one. The campaign came in the wake of a flurry of re-branding exercises from private & public sector banks. The latter especially, were literally lining up outside advertising agencies to create new logos and present their new banking philosophies. In most cases, nothing changed on the ground.
SBI started off with a campaign idea, ‘Surprisingly, SBI’. The objective I would imagine was to get the non-SBI customers to have a re-think about the brand. While the creatives were engaging and humourous, the fact that SBI has more ATMs than any other bank was perhaps news only to the copywriter. The whole world knew it already. And then came this ‘Banker to every Indian’ route. It has been milked for over 2 years now, I think. Again, what it does to potential SBI customers and get them to try out the bank, is anybody’s guess. It may make the current SBI customers feel good, but it has huge fatigue levels built in. After a certain point, it is just a blind spot. How does it help me to know that Raja Ram Mohan and his relatives were SBI customers? Any brand that old would have customers of that vintage. What next? Famous NRIs and their relatives as SBI customers?
And the irony is that there are several PSU banks who are yet to embark on such re-branding and corporate campaign projects. It’s all good for the advertising agencies, but is it money well spent?
Oh, I can think of a potential new customer for such a re-branding exercise. Andhra Bank. I’ve even got the baseline ready. ‘Andhra Bank – And-less opportunities‘. Or how about ‘Andhra Bank. The andar-aa bank‘.