Banking on cartoon connection

  • Business
  • Saturday, 10 Nov 2012

Rizal: ‘Partnership with the animated characters of Upin and Ipin allows the bank access to the junior segment.’

Hong Leong Islamic Bank launched the Upin & Ipin Hong Leong Junior-i Reloadable Debit Card in August. Its head of strategy and markets Rizal Il-Ehzan tells StarBizWeek's Eugene Mahalingam why it has tied up with Les' Copaque and the response so far.

WHY did Hong Leong Islamic Bank (HLISB) decide to use cartoon characters like Upin & Ipin for its junior debit card?

Malaysian households, especially the younger generation, are well acquainted with Malaysian-born Upin & Upin the lively and mischievous duo from the award-winning animation series of the same name. Over the years, this franchise has gained local and international recognition and following.

Regular timeslots on the local TV9 channel, MNCTV Indonesia as well as regionally available Disney Channel Asia have bolstered the reach of this animated series, not only within Malaysia but also in neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

This high level of success and acclaim is attributable to the young, dynamic and talented team at Les' Copaque Production Sdn Bhd, led by its executive director Encik Muhammad Usamah Zaid Yasin and under the guidance of Tuan Haji Burhanuddin Md Radzi, its managing director, and Ainon Ariff, the chief creative director.

HLISB is proud to be associated with such energetic and capable leaders who have made considerable headway regionally and internationally in the realm of animated entertainment. Its partnership with Les' Copaque for the launch of the Hong Leong Junior-i Reloadable Debit Card represents HLISB's support to further drive growth and sophistication in the Malaysian animation industry.

As the Upin & Ipin animated series successfully blends a playful approach to good morals and values from a child's perspective, it becomes an ideal channel into the hearts and minds of the younger generation. In addition to this, the wholesome participation of elder characters provides the required moral guidance for the development of these characters, and by extension the viewer's themselves.

The creators of Upin & Ipin have also skilfully crafted the animated series to address a wide range of issues in such a way that children can easily identify with, including that of financial management at a rudimentary level.

Partnership with the animated characters, therefore, allows HLISB access to the junior segment and helps inculcate the importance of personal financial management awareness and skills for the younger generation.

Is this the first time the bank is using cartoon characters in its marketing campaigns?

This is the first time HLISB is using animated characters for its campaign promotions which has since seen considerable success among our target segments, which comprise youth and families.

How has the response been so far since the launch of these cards?

The Hong Leong Junior-i Reloadable Debit Card was launched in August this year and the response has been very encouraging. Up to September 2012, approximately 95% of HLISB's new retail deposits are related to this campaign. The majority of these new customers have originated from the nine Islamic banking branches but customers may approach any of Hong Leong Bank's over 300 branches nationwide to obtain this product.

Will there be other cartoon-related products in the future such as coin boxes?

As part of the Hong Leong Junior-i Reloadable Debit Card campaign, exclusive merchandise offered to HLISB customers include coin boxes, plush toys, debit card sleeves, wallets and notebooks. Seeing the appeal of the animation characters to our target customers judging from the the encouraging demand for these items, it is possible that we would replicate this approach in the future.

What was the response to the Upin & Ipin Hari Raya packets?

Response from customers and staff for the HLISB Upin & Ipin Hari Raya packets was overwhelming. There had also been considerable buzz on online communications channels such as the blogosphere admiring the packets for its good design and cute appearance of the Upin & Ipin animation characters, attracting even more attention to the already popular item.

Demand clearly exceeded supply, despite a large quantity of the packets being produced, and all packets had been distributed within a short time of them being made available.

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Business , Business , hong leong , upin , ipin


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