Tata AIG Life takes a 'new look' at advertising

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 16, 2007
The gradual and flawless conversion of the model from a 90-year-old to a 30-year-old executive was carried out with help from an Australian prosthetics expert

Tata AIG Life & #BANNER1 & # entered the market in 2001 with the slogan, 'With You Always'. In 2004, it changed its logo. The slogan too was converted to 'A New Look at Life'. The company has now taken a new look at its advertising, with a morphed flash-forward commercial using prosthetics. The chief insight of the TVC is how procrastination wastes time.

The TVC begins on a visual of a 90-year-old man turning in his chair. He is contemplating all the incidents in his life that he could have faced differently. All these instances start with 'if only'. He regrets all the moments he missed out on being with his wife and children. With each regretful thought, he reverses in age - he gets younger. He morphs into an 80 year old while thinking of how he could have spent more time with his wife; he becomes a 70 year old thinking of how he could have played a bigger part in his children's lives. By the end of the ad, he is a 30-year-old executive sitting in his office. He breaks out of his reverie, jumps out of his chair and heads home to be with his family. (Submit your opinion on this ad.)

90-year-old man pondering

Thinking about regrets at age 60

urgency to get back at life, age 50

real time, 30-year-old executive
The flash forward idea was the brain child of Rajeev Raja, executive director, Bates David Enterprise. "The idea draws great parallels from my life, since I'm not great with managing my finances. Sound help from a financial solution provider would do good to many people who procrastinate in the important events of their life," says Raja, explaining his idea. Raja roped in well-known ad-film maker Ram Madhvani because he believed only Madhvani could "pull it off".

When asked why they didn't utilise a Photoshop technique to create the morphed images, Madhvani says, "We actually tried that. But the results weren't up to the mark that we had in mind. So, we decided on the long-winded technique of prosthetics."

Madhvani says, "Though the idea is simple to understand, the execution of the ad was a technical nightmare." It took about three months to complete from start to finish.

Raja explained to agencyfaqs! how the commercial was shot. The transition of age reversal was carried out through a mask that was prepared to fit the model's face. Australian prosthetics expert Damian Martin (he owns Odd Studio, a prosthetics and make-up company) was called in. Martin, who has worked with Madhvani on other projects earlier, needed to create a mask of the model. The mask took about 10 hours to solidify. After structuring the mould for the model's face, Martin moved back to Australia. For six weeks, he worked on all the seven stages of life (from age 90 to age 30) that the commercial required.

"We conducted extensive research on how Indian men aged; grandfathers were looked at very closely; where did they put on weight at what age and many other such gradual changes that occurred in the facial contours of an Indian man," explains Madhvani. At the end of six weeks, Martin was back with seven different masks, one for each stage of life. The masks were like human skin. They needed to be stuck onto the model's face with adhesive so that they moved with his skin. The make-up procedure, after the pasting of the mask, took a tedious three hours.

The voiceover for the commercial was recorded before the shoot. The shooting took place in seven sections, starting with the 90-year-old. A particular time frame of the VO was allotted to the 90-year-old phase. A computer screen that recorded the model's emotions and movements was placed in front of him. At the end of each life phase, his exit expression was captured. The face mask was gently removed, getting destroyed in the process. The removal of one mask and application of the next took more than three hours. The computer screen assisted the model to revive the earlier expression.

The final touch up for a flawless transition from one scene shot to the next was done with computerised morphing by Prime Focus.

Tata AIG Life has supported this TVC with full fledged outdoor and print campaigns. There will be another TVC launched soon focusing on women. "The commercial will highlight that women too are important decision makers," says Raja. The commercial has entered the production stage and will hit the market in two months' time.