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Here’s what the Federal Bank Ad can teach you about your goals.

The folks at Federal Bank think their Ad cuts through the clutter because its ‘youthful, light-veined, and cheeky’. That may be true, but what really sets the Ad apart is the way it presents the playing out of people’s goals at ‘multiple levels’ with superb clarity. I don’t know if Ogilvy & Mather incorporated the goal angle in the story-line by design, or if it’s just plain good luck; whatever, here’s why the Ad scores and shines through the clutter and noise marketers bombard buyers with.

To figure why the Ad’s a winner, you have to get to the heart of human goals and how they are pursued. You see, the goals we go after operate at three levels, namely, the ‘subordinate’, ‘focal’, and ‘super-ordinate’. What’s most apparent, and that drives our motives is the focal goal. Yet what most people fail to recognise or realise is that, it’s the super-ordinate goal (that’s more psychogenic in nature), that’s at the heart of most human drives. Let me explain this in the context of the Federal Bank Ad.

The Ad talks about why you should seek a car loan from the bank by demonstrating the effect having a sedan has on the kind of treatment you receive. In this case it’s a valet parking scenario. Now the three goals that play out in the sequence are these. The subordinate goal is that of landing a car loan at a competitive rate. The focal goal is a sedan to drive around in. The super-ordinate goal? Status in the eyes of others. The Ad is effectively proving to you that if you make good on a loan from the bank to buy a sedan, you can be rest assured about your cherished status goal! Believable? You bet! Never mind the spiritual stuff that warns us of our consumerist ways, the truth is, the way to ‘gaining respect’ from others is via sedans, and other such stuff! You drive a budget hatchback, you’re a nobody. A luxury sedan, and you’ll have valets bending over backwards!

I’ve always believed in the need for brands to hammer away at super-ordinate goals nursed by humans. It’s the psychological stuff that drives us all. Again, it’s the promise of psychological fulfilment that allows brands to hit the bulls-eye with buyers, and cut through a marketing environment characterised by noise overloads. 

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