Met Tata AIA's Daddy and Zooey Yet?

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : January 29, 2015
Through a four minute-long film, Tata AIA Life tries to change the way consumers look at the life insurance segment. The hashtag #daddyaurzooey has evoked a fair share of conversation on Twitter since the film's recent release.

The season for security appears to be upon us. Insurance brand after insurance brand has been inundating mainstream and digital media channels with new films. A recent one by Tata AIA, a life insurance player, stands out, courtesy its two endearing characters - Zooey, a little boy, and his daddy, who is also kind of 'little'.

The four minute-long film captures the relationship they share. The father, rather short and clumsy, tries hard to play hero for his son, who sees better role models in his superhero figurines. The father finally succeeds when he arm-wrestles a man dressed as a superhero; the little boy can't help but cheer for his daddy - who breaks his wrist in the bargain!

Ravi Vishwanath

Chirag Bhasin

Anirudh Verma

Charu Bhatnagar

"Zooey is a six year old who lives with a superhero but doesn't know it," says the brand team on Twitter. According to Ravi Vishwanath, deputy CEO, Tata AIA Life, insurance is meant to ensure that good things happen to one's loved ones. It is this thought that he wanted the creative agency, JWT India, to convey through this campaign.

The film has been directed by Shujaat Saudagar from Boot Polissh Films. JWT's Chirag Bhasin has written it.

"While advertising has started to play up the positive aspects of insurance, the complexity of the process of filing for claims, pushy agents, etc. have made people think it is not a clean business. We are trying to break that perception," says Chirag Bhasin, AVP & senior creative director, JWT.

"It's a proud moment to be part of rebuilding, redesigning a Tata brand from ground up. A unique look and feel to life insurance that makes it more now, approachable and people friendly. And with all hope to greater success", says Anirudh Verma, VP & senior creative director.

In the words of Charu Bhatnagar, VP and client servicing director, JWT, the insurance segment brings with it a lot of "baggage."

"It is perceived as cold and transactional," she says, "We needed to bring the nobility back into the segment."

The ad is being popularised by its makers as 'the first branded short film by an insurance company'. In fact, it was even promoted like one; a print ad announced its launch, before it hit TV screens. As JWT's Verma explains, this was a strategic move. The message, he reasons, trumps the brand. This is why the tagline makes an appearance only at the end of the film. This lets people share the video online - like they would a non-branded film - without making them feel like they are merely 'forwarding' an ad.

Over the years, life insurance players have built their equity by practically scaring people into buying policies. Tata AIA's Vishwanath says, "Everyone is aware of their mortality, so why should we scare them? There is no reason for insurance ads to be sad. Insurance is not just an investment opportunity for people. It lets you save, create and protect wealth, as well as plan for your future needs."

The bulk of his brand's takers belong to the 35-45 years age bracket. These consumers are from varied geographies and have different income levels.

According to Vishwanath, this is the age when the breadwinner starts feeling responsible about older parents, school-going children, etc. Life-stage experts dub this 'the sandwich generation.' The challenge facing the brand, we learn, is to fill the "protection gap", that is, the difference between the 'protection amount' one ought to have and the amount one actually has.

The film will be on air for around six weeks. The campaign will be extended across outdoor and BTL channels too.


While most netizens are enjoying the film, some communication experts are not too impressed.

Naresh Gupta

For instance, the film bewildered Bang In the Middle's strategy head and managing partner, Naresh Gupta.

Why so? Turns out, he kept waiting for the "magic to happen... but the moment never arrived."

"I have a problem with the basic premise of the ad," he grumbles, "Show me one son who feels his father is a lesser man because he is short! Kids feel their dad is the best dad in the world - strong, righteous, kind, super-achiever... and everything positive. Do I need to evaluate my dad based on his height? That's the worst cue a brand can leave me with, as a son."

He goes on to point out, "Apart from HDFC Life, I haven't seen insurance brands talk to girls/women. Stats suggest that women are far more under-insured than men. I have heard from insurance agents that selling insurance for daughters/wives is very tough. Brands can do with some sensitivity in this area."

First Published : January 29, 2015
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