Aegon Religare: Planning for an inflation-hit future

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 16, 2009
Aegon Religare takes a peek into an inflated future to introduce its latest product - pension plans


Religare created quite a scare with its launch campaign in August last year. The brand ambassador, Irrfan Khan, was seen all around town on billboards, dressed as a doctor and somberly asking you whether you suffer from KILB -- Kam Insurance Lene Ki Bimari, as the revealer showed.

Aegon Religare, the 18th player in the insurance category and barely five months into the market, has now introduced its next product offering - pension plans. Too much, too soon?

Pradeep Pandey, director, branding and communications, Aegon Religare Life Insurance says, "With KILB, the task was to introduce the 'offerer'. Now, we are introducing the offerings."

The company also wanted to cash in on the crucial period of January-March, which is when most insurance companies garner about 50 per cent of their annual sales. Therefore, active advertising by other players too, including new kid on the block, Future Generali, will be seen during this period.

Quiz time

Like the launch campaign, this one too, is educative and seeks to make consumers aware of the correct pension amounts, which they will need on retirement.

To calculate this, Aegon Religare has prepared what it calls the Pension Planner. The consumer Aegon Religare is talking to is SEC A males in the 25 - 45 age bracket, whether professionals or self employed.

Contract Advertising worked on the campaign, which is includes two television commercials. This is the first phase of the activity.

The first film, which features Hindi film actor, Irrfan Khan (dressed up as an old man), opens in a supermarket. Khan looks at a carton of milk and asks the salesperson its price. Much to his chagrin, the salesperson replies, "180 rupees." During the course of the day, Khan is shocked to discover what a litre of petrol will now cost him, or even how unbelievably unaffordable a bus ticket is.

As fellow passengers in the bus raise a hue and cry about the rise in prices of essential commodities, Khan gets into the picture, pulling off his fake beard and moustache. He tells the gathered people that things will soon be this expensive - if not now, then 20 years later. He reminds them that in 20 years, after retirement, there won't be any income and prices will keep increasing.

Khan advises the crowd that in order to save, they need to learn what their exact pension amount should be, and this is where Aegon Religare can help them. The ad ends with information about Aegon Religare's toll-free number, which consumers can use to get their queries answered.

The second film uses a different set of instances to highlight the same concept. Considering the current economic scenario and recent media reports about four dozen mangoes costing Rs 10,000, the ad film seems apt.

"This communication is a result of consumer feedback," Pandey says.

A national-level research study was conducted by the insurance company, which brought to light certain facts. The study revealed that unlike life insurance, which is taken for one's entire family, individuals do not invest in pension plans easily.

"Another thing we discovered was that other players offering pension plans portrayed a happy and content post retirement life, but did not tell the consumer how he should go about investing for it," points out Arunava Sengupta, vice-president, account management, Contract Advertising, who has also worked on the planning aspect of the campaign.

Hence, Aegon Religare takes the step in educating the consumer about the right pension amount. The Pension Planner enables consumers to make scientific calculations to arrive at an advisable amount, which they should start investing to ensure a good lifestyle after retirement.

Insured with the idea

Raghu Bhat, senior vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising, tells afaqs!, "Given the findings of the study, the solution was to make the future come alive and make it realistic enough."

"The consumer is worried about inflation. He also realises that the cost of living will go up and that post-retirement, income will stop as well," he adds.

As current market trends indicate an inflation of about 8 per cent, the costs of daily items that are seen in the TVC, such as cooking gas, petrol and medicines, have been calculated on this basis.

Statistics also reveal that in the next decade or so, the average life expectancy will gradually increase to 80 years, up from the current 67 years. Hence, it's more important to plan for life after retirement.

So, is the insurance player taking the fear route to slice through its TG? Pandey dubs it as a reality check. "Every budget tries to suppress or substantiate inflation, but the people know the facts and want to know how they can go about it," says Pandey.

The second phase of the campaign, Bhat reveals, will be more information led, telling consumers that their pension amount isn't a guessing game, but can be calculated. The print communication also focuses on this aspect.

Advertising worth investing in?

Giving their views on the campaign, KV Sridhar aka Pops, national creative director, Leo Burnett, and Kawal Shoor, president, planning, O&M, say they found the idea interesting and that the company had taken a different stance from other insurance ads.

However, Pops says that although the execution is good, "a peep into the exaggerated future isn't motivating enough."

Shoor feels that the campaign, the insurance company's second, could have been better handled. "It could be mistaken as an ad of the market leader, and not an Aegon Religare ad," he muses.

To this, Pandey responds that the approach is the differentiating factor: while other players are painting pretty pictures about life after retirement, Aegon Religare wishes to paint a realistic picture.

Five months since its launch, Aegon Religare has close to 11,000 customers. The company claims that about 6,500 calls have been recorded within eight days of launching the second campaign.

Aegon Religare has spent close to Rs 10 crore on the campaign. Apart from television and print, outdoor and digital will also be part of the media mix.

© 2009 afaqs!