Across nearly all its branches, traffic is an issue. Customers queue around ATMs and even in banking halls. Could be this video was created to spike adoption of alternative channels and by so doing, decongest banking halls and cash machines.
- By Ikem Okuhu
You cannot classify it as a television commercial. You cannot also say it is a music video. You cannot also say that it neither. Advertising traditionally runs for between 30 to 60 seconds. Music videos on the other hand must have someone or a group as the owner.
So what is GTBank trying to do with this song currently enjoying airplay and which we are finding hard to classify?
The title is “737 Moments.” For many people we have spoken with, it comes across as also a great song, with the beat of the now global Nigerian Afro hip hop. I have watched it play a number of times on one or two channels of African Magic. On You Tube, is, as I write this review, the number 25 trending videos on the channel.
Released only two days ago, on July 26, 2017, it is enjoying massive viewing with over 90,000 views, 918 Likes and 168 dislikes. The huge weight of those who Like it as against those who don’t clearly suggests its place in the minds of the audience.
It is not an entirely new innovation in marketing. Glo, the telcom company did the same a few years ago when it was changing its payoff to “Glo Unlimited.” That one starred twin singing sensation, P Square. They are Glo ambassadors. GTBank has no known brand ambassador.
737 Moments appears to be a serious campaign designed to explore the spread of popular Nigerian music to create a message (you cannot call this a Commercial) for its customers and potential ones selling its now very popular USSD banking platform.
They are not leaving this spread to You Tube freaks alone. I have also sighted a report on Sahara Reporters on the music video. The publication has GTBank as the “author.” Why the choice of Sahara Reporters is what I have not understood yet. The site is much more popular among political leaders than young people who form the core of the target of this music video.
You see, 737 Moments is a music video that was created with the aggregation of the moments of need that forces the need for banking-on-the-go. The opening shot has a young man, looking every inch 30-something and dressed in what looks like nigh-wear. As dawn breaks, he wakes to its challenges of paying bills and so on. He remembers he need not worry, because, as he intones, “there is an easy way.”
The next is someone who is running “late and out of time” who is helped by the 737 platform to meet with urgent payment needs.
When I was speaking with a focus group about this on July 27, one of my respondents was convinced the campaign is a good one, except that the “punchline” was delivered too late.
Hear Ambrose Igboke: I have reservation about the punchline. The meat of the message came late. The 737 came almost 2 minutes into the commercial. Gtbank commercial focused more on the entertainment than the product message.”
I think I have to disagree with him here. The problem statement is made in the opening lines. The punch line is delivered between the 18th – 20th second, where they sing, “all you just dial is 737.”
The beauty of this video is its call to action which also begins from the 22nd second where they say “there is so much to do, so much to explore” and they have been waiting for you so “open up the door.”
This sounds like an appeal for all to come join the community that they present as enjoying something fun, useful and easy.
In the article posted on Sahara Reporters, GTBank described the video in these words. “737 Moments is a celebration of every moment—at home, in the office or on the go—when the bank’s customers have dialed *737# to buy airtime, transfer funds, pay bills or complete any of their transactions. Teeming with colorful scenes, groovy beats and a melody that you won’t forget easily, the video of GTBank’s 737 theme song 737 moments has all the staples of a hit. Its purpose, though, is not to climb into the charts and claim the number one spot (where it rightly belongs) but to highlight the simplicity of 737 and its availability to every Nigerian at every moment in time.”
The three paragraph article continues, “Bereft of a super star cast and featuring people from all walks of life, the 737 Moments Video emphasizes the simplicity and universality of 737 with its promise of Simple Banking for Every Nigerian.”
The fact that there is no star cast is a strong point for the brand. It enables it to speak to every community among the urban and semi urban young.
But here is the downside. You see, people take to music and music videos, not just because of the fantastic beats but also because the energy flowing from the artist makes them think and feel in certain ways. Any song that has no strong correlation between the tunes and the energy from the singer creates some form of emotional disconnect.
This was evident in the attitude of the models used for this video. The song has a lot of energy but that could not be connected to what was flowing from the models, apparently because they did not write nor produce the song. In the instances where you are hearing a very high-pitched male voice but you are seeing a female singer, something drops off from the value.
I know that creating such a harmony is a tough one but that is one downside worth mention.
The USSD platform is not unique to any of the Nigerian banks. I am sure they all have their unique USSD Codes. But increasingly, this bank has been able to properly brand theirs, differentiating it from their other products and raising the decibel around it so much you’d think they invented the technology.
We have in the past published an article around how they have made a very simple, commoditized platform quite sophisticated. Creating a music video that is almost four minute long is clear suggestion how much the brand has been making from it and where they plan to take it in the future.
In any case, this banks needs to amplify this as much as possible. Across nearly all its branches, traffic is an issue. Customers queue around ATMs and even in banking halls. Could be this video was created to spike adoption of alternative channels and by so doing, decongest banking halls and cash machines.