Max Bupa: Don't take your health for granted

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 21, 2011
With its new campaign, Max Bupa reinforces the need for health insurance with the message that no one can escape illness.

Health insurance company Max Bupa, a joint venture between the Max Group of India and the UK-based health and care company Bupa, has launched its latest television campaign to attract new customers into the health insurance fold. Its message is clear - contrary to what appears in cinema, no one can escape illness. It can strike anyone.

Conceptualised by Bates141, the campaign takes forward the brand message of 'Your Health First' with the aim to dispel the myth among people that they are invincible when it comes to health.

The television commercial shows a man driving down for his daughter's birthday party. He suddenly suffers a heart attack. Stumbling out of the car with jumper cables, he attaches the cables to the car battery and gives himself a jolt of electricity, which helps him recover. The voiceover then says that this is only possible in the movies, but in real life, one needs the hospital and a trusted health insurance.

The film has been directed by Sonal Dabral, regional chairman, Bates141, and has been produced by Lemon Tree Films.

The agency was briefed to create communication that would reinforce the need for health insurance upon a larger audience -- an objective that has been met with a slightly exaggerated, but effective idea, believe the Bates creative team.

Talking to afaqs!, Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, Bates141 says, "Insurance as a category has become stale. The communication is bent towards telling people what they want to hear. We wanted to change the mindset and the imagery and break the mould. Our intention was to jolt people out of inertia and propel them to take action by telling them 'You need health insurance, and you need it now'."

Says Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, national creative director, Bates141, "The film is a stark portrayal of the fact that you're not superhuman. It reiterates the need for health insurance in a very dramatic way."

During the time when financial companies step up their communication, it becomes important for a brand to stand out. Since, the message and the product are similar in nature, a brand runs the risk of getting lost in the crowd.

Reiterating this, Shefali Chhachhi, marketing director, Max Bupa Health Insurance says that communication in the category is often very similar to one another, and while one has to take care to be distinct, care has to be taken not to move away much from the overall positioning. "It is important to break the clutter and have your own voice. Our campaign builds on our promise to put health first. You cannot steer away too much from it," she says.

The television campaign will be supported by outdoor, digital, radio and print promotions. There will be emphasis on digital activities, says Chhachhi. Tying up with the search engine marketing agency, Resultrix, the digital campaign will involve search engine optimisation and banner advertising on key and relevant high traffic websites. Maxus India handles the media mandate for Max Bupa.

Well Insured

When approached, experts have expressed mixed thoughts about the film. While they are of the opinion that the idea definitely breaks what is otherwise characterised by communication in the category, the execution does not do complete justice to the same.

Says Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe Lintas, "Strategically, it is an interesting thought that only in movies can you be invincible. One can take on a lot of insurance myths with this execution. Films can be an interesting metaphor for identifying myths and then debunking them. Any misconception that people have can be tackled by saying this happens in the films and not real life. But, in this ad, it is buried in its less-than-ideal execution. It could have been executed very well, but here, it is too straightforward."

Charles Victor, national creative director, Law & Kenneth has a word of approval for the creative that he clearly sees stands out in the category. "It is a departure from a 'what will you do when this happens' execution. I like the thought because the issue can get slightly unappetising or morbid. The commercial puts the point across well. I managed to catch it once on air and it stuck," says Victor.

Commenting on the execution, he says while the film comes close to being soppy with the images of the daughter playing on the protagonist's mind, the sudden unexpectedness of him trying to electrify himself makes one sit up and notice. "This category tends to be either drenched in unnecessary emotion or can be horrifying. This is neither. It could have avoided the clichéd image of a running daughter-and-father, but otherwise, the commercial is definitely different from the rest of the advertising in the category," says Victor.

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