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Behind the Work: A Female Cricketer, the Sweet Sound of Wood and an Indian Dream


India’s largest consumer credit marketplace Paisabazaar celebrate the power of dreams in an emotional new campaign

Behind the Work: A Female Cricketer, the Sweet Sound of Wood and an Indian Dream

When we think of films created for finance brands, it’s often boring ads that are more promotional than they are interesting that spring to mind. However, in keeping with the theme of the brand’s powerful, emotional advertising that touches upon a myriad of different emotions, this year Paisabaazar’s spot stands out from the crowd.

Set in Mumbai, the Sweet Sound of Wood follows a young girl’s journey of wanting to become a cricketer and the support she garners along the way. In particular, from her father who is willing to stop at nothing to ensure she achieves her dreams – even when all he can do is hear the bat against the ball as she plays.

To hear more about this spot and keeping up a tradition of emotionally touching films, LBB’s Natasha Patel spoke to Paisabazaar’s chief marketing officer Sai Narayan. 

LBB> What initial idea inspired this film?

Sai> As a consumer brand, we want to tell stories about our consumers. Loans, as a concept, seem like a transactional relationship between a borrower and lender. But, over the years, we have realised getting a loan at the time of need is so much more than that. The loan helps fulfil dreams of your child, helps your loved one during a financial emergency, enables you to start the business you always wanted to do. We have heard and seen so many inspiring stories of our consumers, about how a loan changed their lives. That’s how our brand philosophy of ‘Paison Se Badhkar’ [‘More than Money’] was born. 

The inspiration behind every film you see has got its genesis from a consumer story. For this film, one of our sales team members told us about a customer who was wearing a jersey with his daughter’s name printed on the back. And that was how the concept of ‘Sweet Sound of Wood’ came about.

LBB> I love how there’s a woman cricketer who is centre stage. Why was it important for Paisabazaar to represent a female sportsperson?

Sai> We believe aspirations and talent don’t have any gender. If you look at our last brand film, it had a young woman fulfilling her father’s dream of owning a home. 

For this film, the idea of a girl cricketer came naturally. While everyone is a cricket expert in this country, we wanted to show the struggle and challenges one has to go through to represent India. And of course, India’s women’s cricket team has done phenomenally well in the last few years, becoming role models for kids, and was an inspiration for us. But more than the gender, our films are a tribute to young India which doesn’t get bogged down by the challenges and tribulations life throws at them. 

LBB> Is there a deeper meaning to this film about the power of dreams? If so, why was it important to show this?

Sai> Today, India is dreaming big, irrespective of geography, economic strata. The success stories are all around us, in each and every field. As a brand, we want to tell these stories and act as an enabler and a financial companion, playing a small part, ensuring money is not a hindrance.

As a cricket-loving nation, we Indians sleep, eat and repeat cricket – anywhere and anytime and therefore many cricket stories exist but how many do we know had women sportspeople in them? I believe not many. Thus, it was important to showcase a dream which would have been seen by many but lived by only a few. 

LBB> I love the father's devotion to his daughter even though he is unable to see. Does this represent the nation’s dedication to helping others achieve their dreams?

Sai> As a brand, we have spoken to many parents over the years who are invested in their children’s dreams and take loans to fulfil their aspirations. Our films are an ode to the love and sacrifices our families make in fulfilling our dreams. 

Also, unlike most professions, to excel in sports you have to start very early. Your struggles and the sacrifices you need to make begin from the childhood and continues through your growing up years. In this journey, you need a guiding star in your life who would stand by you and go through the trials and tribulations with them. For some it’s their parents, for others it’s their coach or a close relative. Hence, the father’s dedication became integral to Smriti’s journey.

LBB> What were any production challenges for this film?

Sai> Every film has its share of its challenges. First, the fact that the earlier two films had done so well, there was the weight of expectations to start with. We went through a lot of ideas and concepts over the last few months, before we zeroed on this one. Also, unlike the earlier two films, this had multiple locations, multiple actors, and the scale was larger. So, the nerves were there before the shoot. 

We had to wrap up the shoot in three days in Mumbai. Also, the girl essaying Smriti is not a professional cricketer, so her training to look the part was another challenge. But somehow, we got through it, thanks to a fantastic director, crew and the production house K Silent Films, which have been part of almost all our films and ads from the start.

LBB> The music in this film and the lyrics are so touching, what made you land on this?

Sai> Our only brief to the music director was to create something soulful, something which represents the soul of a dream. The credit goes to Hanif Sheikh, who did a fabulous job in creating the song. It is a part of all our films. We get so many queries about this song. Maybe one day, we will come out with a full version for our customers.

LBB> At almost six minutes long, this is more of a short film than a traditional advert - was there always an intention for it to be so long, if so why?

Sai> We were aware that if the content is good and engaging, people will happily give their time to it, regardless of the duration. We have seen that work well in the past with our earlier films, which were also long-format. As a brand, we want to tell inspiring stories of how young India is dreaming and how their loved ones are egging them on. 

Also, these films are not advertisements. There may be one subtle reference to the brand in between, sometimes not even that. These are just inspiring human stories we want to tell and earn brand love, and tell consumers that dream big, we, as a brand, will not let lack of money stand in the way of these dreams. Our brand films are about our consumers.

LBB> What has the reaction been to this film?

Sai> Like our earlier films, the Sweet Sound of Wood too has been well received. We have over 50 million views digitally in less than a month, thousands of likes, hundreds of positive comments and shares across social media platforms and YouTube. 

LBB> Where did the name The Sweet Sound of Wood come from?

Sai> To be honest at the script level the phrase ‘The Sweet Sound of Wood’ was limited to a sound which the father guesses. The concept came from our director Anand Karir. He wanted to give this sound a meaning, a soul of its own. 

LBB> Any parting thoughts?

Sai> Our ‘Paison Se Badhkar’ brand philosophy is all about Paisabazaar’s commitment to help India fulfil their dreams and not let money be a hindrance towards that. Our latest film is again a shift from the conventional and transactional messaging, towards heart-felt consumer stories, reinforcing Paisabazaar’s stance of a brand that stands with consumers as their financial companion for life.

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LBB Editorial, Thu, 09 Dec 2021 16:28:00 GMT