Friday, July 13, 2018

Mutual Funds Sahi Hai


A little over a year ago Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) launched an advertising campaign –“Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” on TV, digital, radio, print, cinema and outdoor hoardings in different languages. The purpose of this campaign was two-fold; firstly to create awareness among the investing public about mutual funds as preferred investment option and secondly, build confidence by dispelling doubts and ‘myths’ around mutual funds. The TV campaign consists of a number of TV commercials (TVCs)showing everyday situations to which the common people can relate to. They also have a micro-site https://www.mutualfundssahihai.com, the videos carried here are different from the TV commercials and are also longer in duration. The videos in the micro-site appear to further elaborate on what was communicated in the TVCs; links to the TVCs are given below:

Mutual Funds Sahi Hai
HAR MAHINE THODA THODA SAVE KARNA HAI
    On seeing the above ads I wondered as to why was this awareness campaign needed in the first place when for several years mutual funds have been advertised in various media; the only difference I could see was till
    now brands were communicating though advertising and in case of AMFI’s “Mutual Funds Sahi hai” campaign no individual brand is talked about, instead various aspects of mutual fund investments are explained which brands also did so far. The fact is that people were aware about mutual funds and were also investing in it long before the “Mutual Funds Sahi hai” campaign was launched. Let us take some a few examples:
    Tata “Birthday” TVC SIP
    In the Tata “Birthday” TVC SIP or Systematic Investment Plan has been explained; here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJrXEplPE9M
    HDFC Mutual Funds - Kulfi TVC
    HDFC Mutual Funds in their “Kulfi” TVC tries to educate the investors that mutual funds work better when you have patience and give it some reasonable time to grow; here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alno11ddDGI.

    In case of HDFC Mutual Funds “Cricket” TVC emphasizes the importance of investing small amounts in their Systematic Investment Plan; here is the link   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYpfi5rLC3A


    SBI MF - Don't let tax bite off your returns
    SBI Mutual Fund, in their “Don’t let tax bite off your returns” TVC, uses humour to say that they have certain schemes that can enable the investor to save on taxes; here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLYyzmBU7EQ
    Reliance Mutual Fund, in their Diversification Fund TVC, very clearly shows how the funds are invested in diverse business to minimize risk; here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VP9FX6tRYo
    There are more such ads; I have selected only a few here in this article. Mutual funds brands do make efforts to educate the prospective investor using various methods in their creative content; analogies or comparisons seem to be quite common, for example in the HDFC Mutual Funds “Kulfi” TVC, the act of patiently waiting for the kulfi to set in order to get the best result is used as an analogy for being patient with mutual fund investments to obtain best returns. Children are often used in the TVCs for emotional appeal to help viewers remember the ads; in some cases humour is also used to both drive home the message and as well to make the ads memorable.
    Brands for years have been helping in creating awareness for mutual funds through their ad campaigns; this is also supported by articles in the press educating the common person who is potentially an investor. Since
    all this has been happening, where was the need to create awareness through the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” ad campaign by AMFI? Isn’t the investing public already aware? The fact seems to be that despite advertising by brands, penetration of mutual funds among potential investors is very low; the reason being that most people still do not understand what benefits mutual funds are supposed to offer. Many have misconceptions; such as, you need a lot of money if want to invest in mutual funds, or that it is highly risky so it is better to invest in bank fixed deposits and so on.
    HDFC MF Planning for child education
    I have checked out several mutual fund brand advertisements and have found that none of the brands explain their schemes in a directly and straight forward way, analogies or comparisons, as I mentioned before are commonly used but details are not mentioned, at times gimmicks are also used in the name of creativity; take for example the HDFC MF – “Planning for Child Education with SIP” ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAImXH11aRI) concern for child is shown but the scheme has not been explained clearly.
     In Tata Mutual Fund SIP ad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCg6n9aG4-4) the taximeter occupies a
    Tata Mutual Fund SIP
    pride of place in the TVC, it is supposed to be a hook to enable people to remember the ad. I think it is rather gimmicky; the ad does talk about the benefits but it falls short of saying clearly as to exactly how it benefits the investor. Most of brand ads seem to assume that investors already know about mutual funds, so the message the ads deliver is that their brand of mutual funds benefit investors in some sort of a way; according to me these ads are not very convincing.
    Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund
    The Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbM1JF4NkOw) uses humour to say that you do not have to keep your money idle; instead you should invest in Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund so that it earns returns. The humour part is supposed to help remember the ad but it misses out on a vital message, it does not say how Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund can help in earning returns.
    Humour can entertain you, gimmicks are clever and they may look good in the ads, children in the ads are adorable, but the important fact is that these brand ads do not fully convince you as to why should you invest your hard earned money in mutual funds. One of the reasons for not saying enough, to my mind, is because ads are of limited duration and they have to talk about the brand as well. The “Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” ad campaign by AMFI has no gimmicks, no comparisons and no brand to promote, no beating around the bush. Real life situations are shown which most of us can easily relate to and the campaign effectively educates the potential investor. Every message delivered in this ad campaign is pretty simple, direct and has no ambiguity. This campaign tries to plug the gap left by brand ads.
    Mutual Funds Sahi Hai
    LONG-TERM PLANNING KARNI HAI
    I do not wish to discuss each of the ads in the “Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” campaign because these are very easy to understand. I wish to only comment briefly on two ads; in the ‘Long Term Planning Karni Hai’ ad I feel the end statement by one of the characters –“Toh tujhe uski shaadi kal karwani hai kya?”(Do you have to get him married tomorrow?) and the statement “Life mein risk, to mutual fund mein kyon nahi?” (There are risks in life, so why not in case mutual funds?) in the ad of the same name very briefly and effectively convey the essential message in the ad.
    Mutual Funds Sahi Hai
    LIFE MEIN RISK, TO MUTUAL FUND MEIIN KYON NAHI 
    Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” ad campaign seems to have produced good results according to AMFI. The campaign was launched at a time when bank FD interest rate were falling and demonetization resulted in bank deposits increasing and people were looking out for avenues to invest their money, so these two factors have also helped. If these factors did not exist would Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” campaign have the same effect? I think not.
    AMFI has planned to launch the next leg of the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai” campaign where the objective will be to communicate to the investor on the nuances of mutual fund investing, while extolling the benefits of being invested for longer term, especially when markets are volatile.
    So is this effort from AMFI only about creating awareness and dispelling doubts? No, not exactly, it is more than that. I think the objective is to do with mentally preparing the potential investor so that he may consider mutual funds as an investment option.  

    5 comments:

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