Broking house, Angel Broking, has released a new TV commercial which we can all connect with. Their promise is single-minded: no more sharing. In other words, they provide each customer personalised attention and service. And offer investment advice tailor-made to suit each investor’s needs.
And I like the creative thought used to convey the message. The setting is what Mr Twitteroor would call the ‘cattle class’ section of an aircraft. Our man is stuck in the centre seat (my worst nightmare come true). A rather hefty passenger arrives and plonks himself onto the aisle seat next to him (always happens to me!). And what follows is a hilarious unspoken exchange in their battle for sharing elbow space. Aided by a ping-pong sound track. A common problem in the cattle class, something that at times leads to heated exchanges between passengers. At this point, a confession: I have been involved in a few such. Unless the person sitting next to me is a girl. In which case there’s no problem. No, not because I like banging my elbows into pretty maidens, but because women usually leave the elbow space vacant for us touchy-feely-smelly Indian men, hehe.
As I said, a cool idea. The problem with most financial companies and banks is that we get stuck with the call centre folks. More often than not, leave alone dishing out expert investment advice, these sods are ill-informed on even the most basic details. The HSBC girl, who calls me unfailingly every week from Hyderabad, claiming to be my ‘personal advisor’, isn’t even aware where the bank’s branches are located in Mumbai, no kidding! Imagine me trusting her with my hard-earned savings.
What works for this commercial is, one, that it is truly focussed and promises you just one thing. And that’s always a good route to take. And two, the cattle class metaphor works wonderfully. Makes the point immediately and with instant empathy. So all is well. But the true test of an ad is at the ground level, not up in the skies. Can Angel Broking deliver on the promise of personal service? Often, that’s where things go wrong. ICICI Bank promises their officers will not just indulge your kids, but also entertain your granny till the wee hours of the morning. And we know that’s not how it pans out. Some friends who bank with ICICI tell me the staffers speak rudely with them!
Also, all these promises get made when an organisation is small. And they get promptly ditched, the moment their size expands. And then they begin treating customers like, er, cattle-class clients. — Anil Thakraney