Start early like Vijju, says Bajaj Allianz

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 10, 2008
Bajaj Allianz's new campaign featuring Olympic medallist Vijender Singh will not employ print


in on India's moment of glory, Bajaj Allianz Life signed Olympic bronze medal winner Vijender Singh as its brand ambassador. The first slew of communication with the pugilist has just been released.

The earlier campaign dealt with the general approach of the prospective consumer towards life insurance and the effort an insurance agent makes to try to convince him to take up a policy. For three of the seven years that the company has been in India, it has used a mascot, Bajaj Allianz Super Agent, for its advertising. Customers could discuss fears and clear doubts with the mascot.

The new campaign will highlight the Bajaj Allianz product, Early Start Plans.

The TV commercial starts with baby Vijender (called Vijju) in the cradle, playfully punching his mother. When he grows up a bit, he's part of the local Ram Leela, playing Ram. Though he is supposed to shoot arrows at Ravan, he starts punching him, much to the dismay of the organisers. Helping his mother to knead dough in the kitchen, Vijju punches the mass of flour and water into shape. In the final scene, he is shown in the ring, punching his opponent.

The ad ends with Singh saying that an early start is always a good idea.

"When we signed on Vijender, we did so with a view to talk to a younger target group (TG) in the age range of 28-33 years," says Akshay Mehrotra, head, marketing, Bajaj Allianz Life. "Our products have been adapted to suit the younger generation."

Singh's recent win in the Olympics and his small town origins make him a strong contender to reach a larger audience, just like cricket whiz MS Dhoni.

"We wanted to use him in a boxing context, not too obviously, but in a smoother manner. The brief we got also highlighted an early start," says Parveez Shaikh, senior vice-president and executive creative director, M&C Saatchi, the agency which worked on the campaign.

The brief was to connect with the TG and encourage them to consider life insurance. M&C Saatchi tried to incorporate the 'start early' idea by showing the boxer's obsession - even when it got him into trouble - from the very beginning. Humour was a purposeful element because it works well, says Shaikh.

The communication strategy will include heavy use of television, targeting all types of channels, including general entertainment, news and business. Effort has been put in to appeal to the new consumer, with brochures and forms that have a younger feel. Road shows have been planned in Tier 2 towns such as Chandigarh, Baramati, Sangli, Udaipur and Rajkot. Outdoor advertising will be used optimally, too.

"The campaign will not use the print medium because it does not deliver well enough," says Mehrotra. The digital platform will be used with the creation of a functional microsite.

What the others think
Sandipan Bhattacharyya, executive creative director, BBDO India, isn't very impressed with the idea. "The ad doesn't affect, amuse or move me because it's as hackneyed as a K-serial plot. The writer probably thought of this way back on another client and finally managed to sell it."

Prathap Suthan, national creative director, Cheil Communications, thinks that the agency has done fairly well to use a boxer as a brand ambassador. "When someone takes out a life insurance policy, the idea is to protect and defend oneself against unseen harm. Therefore, when an accomplished boxer, who can knock the living daylights out of his opponent, tells you to buy insurance, it's in line with the brand ambassador," he says.

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