If an 18-month old baby has to play ball like ace soccer star, Ronaldo, or play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix, the world of animation is probably the only place where it's possible. A new 'animated' campaign by Contract Advertising, for the launch of Aegon Religare's Star Child Plan, makes use of the insight that there's a star in every child, and the brand plays an enabler to bring forth that potential.
To launch the Star Child Plan, Contract worked on the following truth: the earlier generation had fewer career opportunities, and was forced to settle for a few 'socially acceptable' careers, such as medicine or law, despite having other passions. However, today's generation has the option of turning a hobby into a passion, and with the right financial backing, also into a profession.
"Every child is born with some talent, and today's parents recognise this world of possibilities," says Pradeep Pandey, director, branding and communication, Aegon Religare, adding, "Our brand plays the role of an enabler to ensure that financial problems don't come in the way of fulfilling a child's potential."
The insight of insurance playing an enabler to empower children is a tried and tested one, with several brands having walked the talk in the past. Aegon Religare, therefore, had to rely on a different execution route for the message to stand out.
He adds that the idea was to exaggerate the idea of a child displaying an extraordinary talent, which would not have been possible to capture fully with a real child. Hence, the animation route was taken. Moreover, offbeat professions were chosen to drive home the point.
Currently, two films are on-air: one where an animated baby plays football like ace star Ronaldo; and another where a baby plays the guitar like Hendrix. The VO concludes that the brand allows your children to become what you couldn't. A third one is in the pipeline, where a child is a chef like Sanjeev Kapoor.
The footage was taken to Singapore, and VHQ, along with Surendranath and his team, then created images on computer graphics (CG) from various angles, to match the actual babies. "From the hair to the shape and size of the eyeballs, we had to take care that everything looked similar to the real baby," says Surendranath.
To give the film a candid, easy, home-video feel, it was shot in one take, avoiding too many cuts in the frames. The music for the films has been given by Vipin Mishra. (For watching the making of the football film, click here. For watching the making of the guitar film, click here.)
The post-production was an elaborate process, with animators from France and the UK working on it, while a software expert from London flew down to Singapore to rewrite the customised animation software for this project.
Roll baby roll
Many from the industry feel that the proposition per se - that of a financial brand enabling children to be what they want to - isn't altogether new, and so such an execution should have done the trick. While some feel it succeeds, others feel the execution draws from the recent Evian ad from the US, called Roller Babies, which has animated babies in their nappies performing a roller-skating act effortlessly.
"Though the ideas are different in both cases, the execution for Aegon Religare is a very close resemblance of the Evian TVC," says Santosh Padhi, co-founder and chief creative officer, TapRoot India. "All this would have been forgotten once you deliver a better execution than the predecessor; but if that doesn't happen, you have to feel the pinch."
Personally, Padhi feels the Evian babies look cute and a lot more drama is happening around them, including the music. "Further, the animation is seamless, which I feel is lacking here," he shrugs.
Ad filmmaker Pushpendra Mishra of Flying Saucer Films expresses his thoughts on the execution: "With the nature of these scripts, one needs to animate the babies. But having said that, yes, the peppy music did seem a bit similar and of course the 'chaddhis' (nappies)," he muses.
The media budgets for this campaign are about Rs 8 crore, while the production cost touches Rs 1.5 crore.