Sing away the years to come

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 30, 2009
In its new television commercial, SBI Life has attempted to appeal to the younger working population with a promise to insure a secure future

In a highly crowded segment such as insurance, communication is more often than not based on the one thought of a secure and better future. The television commercial of SBI Life Insurance's new campaign is no different.

In the TVC created by Ogilvy India, the agency chose a different situation, focusing on young working individuals dreaming of a happy future.

Continuing with the brand positioning, Celebrate Life, the ad features a young couple sitting silent while driving down the road. The woman turns on the music player in the car to break the ice. An old Hindi movie song starts playing. The man soon turns the player off, further irritating his wife. He then breaks into his own improvised version of the song, singing how both of them will continue to enjoy their life with comfort, much after they have grown old. The couple breaks into laughter and a voiceover follows to end the commercial.

The TVC has been directed by Amit Sharma and produced by Chrome Pictures. The creative team at Ogilvy consisted of Piyush Pandey, chairperson, Ogilvy & Mather, South Asia; Anup Chitnis, executive creative director; and Nitin Pradhan, creative director.

Talking to afaqs!, Chandramohan Mehra, head, brand and communications, SBI Life Insurance, says, "Life insurance is in a growing phase. The literacy level has increased but customers have to be more aware. Targeting Tier II and Tier III cities, we realised our communication needs to be simple and connect emotionally.

"Our strategy is to enable a clear articulation of the life insurance benefits by simplifying and developing a communication that the consumers resonate with it. The brand tonality has been kept intact. It is just that we have been trying to 'youthify' the brand."

SBI Life Insurance has been lying low over the past couple of years on the advertising front. The brand continued to leverage on its existing communications.

The new campaign will be led by television and outdoor promotions, along with radio, digital and on-ground activation. A second TVC is expected by early February.

On the commercial, Pandey tells afaqs!, "The soul of SBI Life has remained the same over the years that we have worked on it. We have just given a different expression this time. The core is the same. This new commercial is a fresh and romantic take on a young couple's dreams of their older age. It is not giving out a cautionary message about the future. The message is about celebrating life."

"The brief was simple. We had to appeal to the young insurer, who is married, in his 30s and ensure that the commercial has an emotional connect," says Pradhan.

Pradhan further explains that with the young couple in the commercial, the agency tried to break away from the clutter and at the same time, not discount the emotional and engaging message.

Fantasy as a device is used in a jovial manner in the commercial, with the insight that everyone dreams of a better tomorrow, especially young couples.

"Things like these do happen. Women do fall for such sweet things," Pradhan quips.

Celebrating the ad

The ad sets out to connect with the emotional chord of the viewers and going by the opinions of experts, it seems to be on the right track.

"The track is sweet and that makes the commercial. That is the only reason why anyone would give this spot a second look," says Joono Simon, executive creative director, Mudra South.

Similar thoughts are voiced by Ramkrishna Gopi Yadav, creative director, Lowe Lintas. "It is a warm and sweet ad," he says.

Whether the insight and the basic idea is getting a bit clichéd in such ads, however, seems to be a question.

"An 'overused insight' is probably an oxymoron! To that extent, it is probably not an insight; rather, a generic observation of what this category is all about; and hence, the cliché. To my mind, all that the ad tries to do is find a new expression of it. It would have been interesting to uncover a fresh, more insightful dimension of this life stage and then craft a proposition around it," says Rohit Srivastava, executive vice-president, planning, Contract Advertising.

"There is only so much one can do in this segment. The insight remains the same. The situations have to be created differently and made interesting," explains Yadav.

© 2009 afaqs!