RBI takes the quirky route to appeal to netizens

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Updated: February 20, 2021 11:56 AM

The campaign encourages its target audience, the tech-savvy netizen who tends to transact online, on staying ‘satark’ or alert against some common fraudsters or cyber security threats.

This is not RBI’s first attempt.This is not RBI’s first attempt.

Reserve Bank of India’s latest ‘RBI Kehta Hai’ campaign rocks. The message is a serious one that cautions netizens on cyber frauds, including those on the UPI, but it’s been delivered in style by Punjabi singer-rapper Viruss. The singer is best known for his 2017 indie song ‘Bam Bhole’ which was recreated for the Akshay Kumar-Kiara Advani starrer ‘Laxmii’. The peppy video, an innovative attempt to catch the attention of the public, is on the central bank’s Twitter handle.

The video encourages its target audience, the tech-savvy netizen who tends to transact online, on staying ‘satark’ or alert against some common fraudsters or cyber security threats. The attempt, for now, is to try Twitter as a response/feedback mechanism, based on which other mediums like TV or radio may eventually be roped in.

Can such attempts by a top regulator actually do the job of educating in a ‘cool’ way? “Oh yes, it works,” says Naresh Gupta, chief strategy officer and managing partner at digital agency Bang in the Middle. “We always tend to think of government organisations as remote and disconnected from us, but initiatives like these help them humanise themselves.”

Gupta believes RBI has done a “smart thing” by trying out Twitter for the rap video instead of wasting ad monies on TV before testing. “Some of the problems highlighted are common ones,” Gupta says. “As the RBI is not really selling anything, leveraging rap songs or known personalities helps the message stand out, and you remember it, particularly when you face similar issues in real life.”

This is not RBI’s first attempt. In 2016, it created a tagline, RBI Kehta Hai (‘RBI says’) tagline, and since then, its communication centres around themes of financial literacy and public awareness towards frauds, etc. According to industry experts, the RBI empanels a roster of ad and media agencies once every three years for its communication strategy. RBI has its presence on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and its own website, where such campaigns are disseminated to the public.

In 2020, it even roped in Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan as its brand endorser, and released a whole host of commercials during his TV show Kaun Banega Crorepati and the cricketing extravaganza, the IPL. The ads talked of senior citizens facilities, cyber security, digital banking, and setting limits on card transactions.

Furthermore, the RBI even has its own ‘employees’ – cricketers KL Rahul and Umesh Yadav among others, and some national level female badminton players like Meghna Jakkampudi and Rasika Raje – feature prominently in TV ads and other media over the last few years.

These are pro-bono public service initiatives, and prior to the cohesive ‘RBI Kehta Hai’ campaign, RBI’s communication was more sporadic. But with the number of UPI transactions expected to hit a billion a day the need to educate people about digital frauds is more pressing than ever.

Read Also: Star India trims FY20 losses by 60% thanks mostly to IPL

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