Happiness and excitement aside, the one emotion that dominates the mind of a would-be house owner, is fear. At least that's the premise online property portal IndiaProperty.com has based its mass media ad campaign on. Thus, the brand promises to handhold property buyers through the daunting process and guide them home.
Taking the leap of faith is so much easier if someone reliable plays coach. As the boy jumps into the water and starts swimming, the voiceover goes on to explain how IndiaProperty.com is happy to guide buyers through the whole process, by offering legally verified listings and conversations with property experts.
Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy, India and South Asia, said, "Buying property is life's biggest and toughest decision. Fear, anxiety, and lack of clarity and trust are the emotions a property buyer goes through. They desperately seek assurance."
The challenge, he adds, was to think of a story that best encapsulates this feeling. "The metaphor of a kid who doesn't know how to swim, jumping into a pool, portrayed the emotions of the first-time property buyer beautifully," he explains.
In conversation with afaqs! about the insight the campaign draws on, Ganesh Vasudevan, chief executive officer, IndiaProperty.com, says, "The industry is plagued by poor transparency and the information provided by advertisers is often inaccurate. Such listings have led to a general mistrust of all intermediaries in the real estate industry. The challenge for online players like us is to increase the reliability quotient of property-related information in a scalable manner."
The site joins a list of online property portals that have, in their own way each, leveraged the insight of pre-purchase fear; examples include Commonfloor.com's TVC, styled like a horror film from the 1980s, or Magicbricks.com's campaigns, that warned buyers against fake guides and useless search tips.
The brand team at IndiaProperty.com is working on extending the campaign on-ground, considering the fact that though many people are warming up to the concept of buying property online, most still prefer conventional, offline methods. For them, the team is hosting 'Gruhapravesh', a series of offline and virtual property shows.
"Our property shows reflect our online efforts in the offline world. In our shows, we use our technology platform to create 'virtual property tours'. We also give guided site tours, home loans and legal assistance," explains Vasudevan.
Launched in 2006, IndiaProperty.com offers property marketing solutions to builders, real estate agents, and home owners looking to sell or rent their places. According to the company, the portal receives over 1.2 million unique visitors a month, has 4.5 lakh properties listed across 20 cities, and three million active, registered users.
Some of the brand's key offerings include an augmented reality-based mobile application and an online-assisted property search service.
Does The 'Fear Factor' Insight Work?
"It almost seems like people are dying and that it's the end of the world! But you must realise that 90 per cent of online property buying is verified now... it is safer than it used to be. Yes, you do get cheated but that is the exception, not the rule. If you scare someone too much, they will end up running away from the product, or in this case, the category," explains Pops, as he is fondly known.
Of course, this is his interpretation of the campaign. Others decode the film as one that captures the fear faced by people before buying property in general, not just while buying property through an online portal.
Prathap Suthan, managing partner and chief creative officer, Bang in the Middle, a full service creative agency, says that as a home-buyer, he has felt the emotion captured in the ad. "Every home buyer has the same kind of fears," he admits.
He, however, points out, "But at that point in time, we do not look for someone who will tell us, 'If you get into trouble, we will be there'. Rather, we want to be told, 'There will not be any issues'." The film, he feels, amplifies the fear factor, more than it reassures.
"If the site's USP is going to be the review, the verified listings and the advisor, they should have shown these features instead of highlighting the insecurities," Suthan adds about the choice of creative execution.
IndiaProperty.com says it will showcase its website and features in subsequent films, that will be tactical in nature and shorter than the current thematic film.