RHB Bank Group has brought back magician  Vikneswaran Allagu, also known as Vikey, as part of its  four-episode guerrilla magic show. Done in collaboration with FCB Malaysia, the campaign falls under its  #JomSapot initiative,  a platform for SMEs to crowdsource support from RHB’s debit and credit cardholders.

Vikey made surprise visits to four local businesses - Sagar Restaurant in Bangsar, Black Market restaurant and Caffeinees restaurant in Kampung Pandan, and PC Image in Low Yat Plaza - so as to pay forward the support that he had received himself to other #JomSapot merchants. Therein Vikey performed a series of tricks to the unsuspecting crowd.

Magic and illusions aside, the campaign also allowed Vikey to take the stage and urge viewers to lend their support to local businesses via the #JomSapot x BeliLokal initiative, conceived in partnership between RHB and The Star Media Group.  The campaign launched on 17 March, and is running across all of RHB’s social and digital channels. 

RHB previously enlisted Vikey to star in a campaign 18 months ago, where the magician starred in a campaign titled "Light in a Time of Darkness", which served as FCB Malaysia’s 2020 Deepavali film for RHB Bank. The campaign shared the story of how Vikey endured the pandemic, in spite of making a career switch from performing magician to durian seller.

Abdul Sani Abdul Murad, CMO of RHB Group told A+M that the #JomSapot campaign veers away from RHB's usual festive angle for the first time, by going beyond simply telling an original festive story.

We moved the needle from mere storytelling to story-doing for the brand. This adds a lot of depth to our brand’s advertising and ultimately, it becomes tangible proof of RHB’s brand positioning as 'The People’s Ally'.

"This campaign with Vikey shows the world that we are a brand that walks the talk, and moving forward, it’s what we look to achieve for all upcoming festive campaigns," he said.   

He added that Vikey was brought back as an extension of the 2020 Deepavali campaign and that this latest campaign was done "not by chance but by design" and is essentially a continuation of Vikey's story. According to Sani, this was due to Vikey's story being a remarkable tale about victory over adversity, and how it can be seen as a source of inspiration for local businesses. 


On why the four companies were chosen to feature in the new campaign, Sani added that the companies had previously expressed interest in being part of the #JomSapot BeliLokal initiative. RHB also saw this expression of interest as a good opportunity to bring Vikey in, where he could surprise the four business' customers and call on Malaysians to give these businesses the support that they needed.

According to Sani, this initiative follows a key objective of the #JomSapot BeliLokal programme, which is to help local businesses promote themselves to an audience at no cost. RHB is also currently running numerous marketing initiatives to give such businesses the opportunity to be exposed to a wider, and possibly untapped audience.

To date, the films have received over 2.3 million views and over 2,380 likes. They have also been  shared with approximately four million RHB customers via various internal communication channels. "For the businesses, that is an incredible amount of reach to potential customers. The best part? No cost was incurred for them, as it’s entirely covered by RHB," Sani told A+M

On a broader spectrum, the initial results of #JomSapot have also exceeded the bank's expectations. The company reported that local businesses who have been enlisted as part of RHB’s #JomSapot BeliLokal programme enjoyed a 25% growth in sales from RHB customers. It also saw a 15% increase in the number of RHB customers supporting these local businesses. On the bank side, the average purchase value our customers also increased by 10%.

Meanwhile, RHB has a long-standing relationship with FCB Malaysia and Sani said that it has been a meaningful experience collaborating with the agency for this campaign, because this marked a local financial institution joining hands with "a loud-and-proud Malaysian agency" of shared origin. 


Aside from the strong working relationship, Vikey's cheerful personality also injected fun into the campaign. The agency's creative head, Wang Le Tjer, said his personality made the shoot and the entire production process feel more like play than work. "It was such a cool experience to witness his spellbinding magic up close and from the other side of the camera for a change, and it gave the team newfound appreciation for his craft," he added.

On a broader marketing front, RHB's plans for 2022 will focus on delivering its five-year Together We Progress strategy which includes ensuring that its brand purpose of making progress happen for everyone is built upon the company's ESG commitments and brought to life via marketing initiatives. Sani added that the RHB #JomSapot BeliLokal campaign is just the tip of an ambitious iceberg. By kickstarting its strategy and showcasing its commitment to delivering a sustainable method for local businesses to recover, RHB aims to ensure that SME business owners stand a chance to achieve progress despite the tumultuous times.

While digital channels will be a key focus in RHB's marketing strategy, the bank also understands the importance of maintaining its traditional dissemination channels, which have been essential in connecting with consumers. According to Sani, traditional channels are still an integral component of its communications strategy, because they have captured a great amount of consumers’ trust and serve as a perfect complement to digital media. 

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