Aegon Religare: Better Safe Than Sorry

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | March 24, 2015
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In its latest digital campaign, the insurance company attacks the cultural beliefs of 'buri nazar' and 'good karma', and communicates the need to secure one's family from untoward events of life.

In a land where death is a sacred subject and longevity of life is often dependent on one's karma, selling an insurance plan is a tricky task. While recently, insurance companies have exhausted emotional and shock value to motivate consumers to secure themselves, Aegon Religare takes a humorous route. In its satirical digital campaign called #NothingWillHappen, stand-up comedian Atul Khatri promotes the online term plan.

The online term plan provides pure protection cover in the event of death. It ensures continuity of lifestyle and protection of assets for the family, in case something happens to the insured.

Aegon Religare #NothingWillHappen campaign

Aegon Religare #NothingWillHappen campaign

Aegon Religare #NothingWillHappen campaign

Aegon Religar #NothingWillHappen campaign

Executed by Infectious Advertising, the campaign consists of four films that use humour to convey the message of how crucial it is to protect one's family against unseen events of life. In the film, Khatri pokes fun at people who are in a state of denial about death, while gently reminding them to protect themselves. In one of the films, he fixes an electrical fuse without using any protective gear; in the second film, he leaves the cooking gas burner open while trying to light up a match, while in the third one he is seen fixing a vehicle while children are playing football around and the last film has him climbing a pipe without any safety measure.

Yateesh Srivastava

Nisha Singhania

Yateesh Srivastava, chief operating officer, Aegon Religare Life Insurance, says that the campaign idea germinated from the insight that, in India, people believe that bad things happen to others.

"In India, there are myriad rites and rituals that we use to protect ourselves from 'buri nazar' or the evil eye and to earn good karma. Using these cultural nuances, we have created a campaign that is not only funny, but resonates with the target audience at the same time," he notes.

The campaign targets working consumers in the age group of 25-40 years who have dependents and also fixed liabilities in the form of EMIs.

"While insurance has always been about protection, of late, it has been bought more for savings and investments. We are using this campaign to get our target audience to look seriously at protection - the primary purpose of life insurance," explains Srivastava.

Aegon Religare currently sells 25 per cent of its sourced policies online. The biggest marketing challenge for the company is to provide consumers with a uniform omni-channel experience, whether for a sale or for service in a highly fragmented media and rapid digitalisation scenario.

Speaking about the execution of the campaign, Nisha Singhania, co-founder and director, Infectious, says that their aim was to 'jolt' consumers from their slumber and shatter their belief that 'bad events happen to others'.

"We decided to take the humorous route so that people don't switch off the communication, as death is a serious subject," she states.

The campaign is being promoted on the company's social media platforms heavily.

A 'non-preachy' effort

Siddhartha Dutt

Siddhartha Dutt, strategic planning director, JWT Mumbai, gives a thumbs-up to the campaign. According to him, the execution of the ads is 'non-preachy' with a liberal dose of both irony and dark humour.

"A couple of situations like the fixing of faulty electric wires and leaving the gas on in the kitchen are quite realistic, and should, therefore, rightfully strike a chord with most viewers," he notes.

Dutt also raises concern on the missing female protagonist in insurance ads. He believes that decisions on insurance policies, especially in urban India, include women's opinions.

"Ideally, including a female protagonist in most Indian brand communication should be made de rigueur, but again, it depends of the category, the brand and the products. So, horses for courses," he says.

Dutt highlights that the ads, though educate the consumers, but misses out on the 'brand connect' - something he would have blended smoothly into the campaign.

"I agree that educating-the-consumer-about-the-category is a noble cause for a brand (and this might even help a brand gain high ground in the category and/ or act like a leader). But, at the end of the day, as David Ogilvy himself put it, 'If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative'," he argues, adding that a female character in at least one of the ads would have made it more inclusive.

Arjava Vig

For Arjava Vig, creative director of digital agency FoxyMoron, the campaign is a relatable visual representation of a modern Indian man and home. It adds to the dichotomy that they are trying to play up, modern and youngish in its look and mannerisms, but still defined by archaic Indian traditions.

Vig notes that the company has done a good job of walking that fine line, poking fun at our society without being pretentious or mean about it.

In his opinion, the final line used in the ads, 'For those who are not immortal', falls flat as the ad defines Khatri by the traditional beliefs most people have, that implies everyone thinks they are immortal.

Vig points out that the hashtag #NothingWillHappen makes appearance only in the beginning and should have been carried forward with a 'call to action' attached to it.

He also suggests using a snappy short URL to enable consumers to buy the insurance policy, and annotations on it for direct click-outs to the sign-up page.

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