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Kotak Bank pushes for financial inclusion with 811’s ‘India Invited’ campaign

Launched in India around four months after the demonetisation drive, Kotak Mahindra Bank’s 811 mobile app offers a wide range of services from online banking to shopping, travel bookings and mobile recharge. 

In a bid to further fortify 811 mobile app’s proposition, Kotak Mahindra Bank has rolled out its latest campaign – called #IndiaInvited. The campaign features Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh along with people from all walks of life, across age, gender, profession, religion, physical appearance, including an acid attack survivor, among others. 

Collaborative efforts over the years by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) and banks have immensely contributed in improving financial inclusion in every nook and corner of the country. However, even today, only around 2 per cent of Indians own a mobile money account, as per the World Bank, leading to low engagement with the formal financial ecosystem. The need of the hour is to bring about a change in mindset to make banking digitally inclusive, so that banking services are made accessible to every Indian. 

811 is an anywhere, anytime digital bank account and much more. It is a one-of-its-kind truly inclusive account. The only requirement for opening an 811 digital bank account is being an Indian, which is the underlying message of the #IndiaInvited campaign. 

The 811 campaign is shot at the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (earlier known as Victoria Terminus), a UNESCO world heritage site located at Fort, Mumbai, to capture real life nuances. The protagonist of the story is ‘the bench at the railway station’ and Ranveer Singh dons the role of the bard (Sutradhar). The story voices similarities between 811 and a bench at a railway station. Anyone and everyone – irrespective of caste, creed, religion and abilities, are welcome to rest and take a breather at any bench at any railway station in India. Similarly, 811 offers unconditional access to a full-service, zero-balance digital bank account which gives up to 6 per cent p.a. interest to every Indian. 

Karthi Marshan, Chief Marketing Officer, Kotak Mahindra Group, commented, “811, launched on March 29, 2017, is India’s unique full-service banking ecosystem on mobile and web born out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a Digital India. With 811, we simplified banking in India and in a year since launch, 811 has been embraced by Indians. In our endeavour to make banking more accessible and widespread, we realised that people from different walks of life tend to get intimidated to walk into a branch for the fear of being judged. The #IndiaInvited campaign builds on this insight, and draws attention to how 811, just like a bench at the railway station, does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of personal or physical characteristics.” 

Elizabeth Venkataraman, Executive Vice President - Marketing, Kotak Mahindra Bank, added here, “Inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it is also necessary for a country as diverse as India. Digital is a great equaliser, especially in banking, providing equal access to everyone. And 811 represents those very qualities of equality and inclusiveness. 811 is truly for everyone. Our #IndiaInvited campaign champions this effort, and uses the analogy of the simple bench at the railway station that doesn’t judge people and correlates that to the promise of 811.” 

“We wanted someone who embodies the spirit of individuality and success while being comfortable in their own skin to be the face of the campaign. And who better to lead the campaign than Ranveer Singh, an actor who has made a mark with his unique and unconventional style and appearance, someone who has succeeded in Bollywood on his own terms”, added Marshan. 

The campaign will be amplified across all platforms, including TV, print, outdoor, digital and through on-ground engagements across the country. 

Speaking about the concept of the campaign, D Ramakrishna, CEO of Cartwheel Creative Consultancy, explained, “The brief was to reinforce 811’s leadership in this category by moving beyond the functional features of the offering.” 

Elaborating on the strategy behind the whole concept and the TG, the Bank wanted to address, he said, “Digital banking, by design, is an inclusive idea. We chose to embrace this aspect. The fact that the world we live in today is perceived as being increasingly divisive, polarised, and judgmental, only made this decision more relevant. The TG, for once, is actually everyone.” 

Commenting on the desired outcome of the ad, he said, “To be the digital bank account of choice for everyone.” 

Commenting on the idea behind choosing a local railway station, he said, “Every day a railway station sees scores of Indians of all faiths, occupations, castes and creed pass through. Stations and journeys have always been a powerful metaphor for life.”


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