HDFC Standard Life delivers message on self-respect

By , agencyfaqs! | In
Last updated : February 07, 2005
The ad by Dentsu Marcom centres on the quintessential middle class value of self respect to drive home its message

In the midst of insurance sector platitudes of better future, better returns, better protection, HDFC Standard Life's new ad makes a refreshing departure. The ad delivers the message: Invest in insurance not out of the fear of 'what if', or for saving tax, but out of one 's own self respect.

The ad by Dentsu Marcom centres on this quintessential middle class value of self respect to drive home its message.

First, a look at the ad. The film opens on a street singer singing an aalap with his harmonium on a railway station. The focus shifts to a train entering the platform and a man looking for his parents through the barred windows of the train's compartment.

Soon, our man finds his parents at the entrance of the compartment and offers his hand to help them get down from the train. His father, almost offended, refuses the help and descends on his own. At this instant, the music breaks into lyrics that go like this: "Naa sar jhuka hai kabhi, aur na jhukayenge kabhi." (The head hasn't bowed down ever, and it shall never do so.)"

The old man then turns around to help his wife climb down, but she too shrugs off his help, just like her husband did a while back. As the train leaves, the son and his wife welcome their parents. Their little son, meanwhile, sits atop the luggage heaped on the trolley being pushed by the porter. The excited boy breaks into a dance and falls down. The grandfather rushes to help the kid, but the boy's father dissuades the grandfather. As the little boy gets up on his own, the lyrics go as "Jo apne dum pe kare, sach mein zindagi hai wahi." (What you achieve on your own steam, that's what life is about.)

As the film on HDFC Standard Life ends with the silhouettes of the grandfather, the son and the grandson walking away, the voice-over says, "We value your self respect as much as your life."

When the brief was given to the agency, it was amply clear that the communication had to create a strong brand differentiation. "Rather than treading the beaten path of protection, safety and returns, the central idea of the brand had to make an instant emotional connect with consumers in a clutter-breaking manner," explains Rajesh Aggarwal, executive director, Dentsu Marcom.

The earlier brand communication centred on the friendship theme. "The promise of being 'Friends for Life and Beyond' helped the brand bond with the consumer, but it was time that we moved on," explains Sanjay Tripathi, head of marketing, HDFC Standard Life.

And, since insurance purchase is a serious decision for a consumer who is looking to secure his and his family's position, the communication had to evolve to an intensely emotional plane.

After series of discussions and exploring consumer insights, the team arrived at the creative idea of self-respect, which proved to be the right talking point with the customer.

"The idea was to convey that it's important to plan today and invest today, so that they can retire with 'pride'. Now, each one of us wants to live a life with one's head held high, and at one's own terms. Self respect or Khuddari has always been a value that has been the core of the Indian middle class. And this is what generations of Indians have lived by, and have grown up on," says Gullu Sen, Dentsu's chief creative officer.

The trigger point of the creative idea of self-respecting individuals came from the fact that insurance plans are inspired by self-dependence. "For a secure future, for a tomorrow without crutches, it made perfect sense for HDFC Standard Life to ask the prospective customers to 'respect' themselves. Out of respect emerges the agenda of one's life: Needs, wants, hopes, aspirations - all planned for through prudent investments through HDFC Standard Life's products," explains Aggarwal.

With self respect as the core brand idea, the storyline developed around it. "Self respect meant self-reliance and self-sufficiency…a value system ingrained in the young and old that self-help leads to living a life at your own terms, without compromises. Therefore, the ad shows three generations, where both the father and his son are shown as self-reliant individuals, while the grandchild is being trained to be self-reliant."

No doubt, the brand comes across with a strong identity, and, going by what the agency claims, the ad is indeed, talking to people.


Script and ideation by Gullu Sen, Dentsu's chief creative officer
Servicing team: Rajesh Aggarwal, executive director, Nitin Baweja, account manager.
Director: Nikhil Advani (of 'Kal Ho Na Ho' fame)
Music: Kailash Kher (of 'Allah ke Bande' fame),
Lyrics : Harish Arora, executive creative director, Dentsu.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!

First Published : February 07, 2005
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© 2005 agencyfaqs!