Kids endorsing brands is a rather common feature in advertisements these days. But the use of a kid as a protagonist for a financial product is something new. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance's latest ad has done just that for the promotion of its
Smart Kid Education Plan.
The television commercial shows a child studying in the foreground and a discussion of upcoming financial commitments between his parents in the background. Every time that his parents talk of breaking the bank deposit - ostensibly created for the child's future education, he feels dejected and is about to throw the study books away in a waste paper bin. He waits in anticipation for the final verdict, and when it comes, the dejected boy actually drops his books.
The unfortunate boy then speaks up, "Dekha achanak aaye kharche hamari padai ki savings pe kaise asar karte hain." (Did you notice how unexpected expenses put a dent to the savings for my studies?) He then goes on to suggest, "Kyon nahin invest
karte hain Smart Kid education plan mein...(Why don't you invest in ...)
The TVC must have clicked with the viewers as the company got a fantastic number of calls from this ad and especially from kids. This was because at the end of commercial, the telephone numbers of an ICICI call centre were displayed.
Abhishek Bhatia, head - marketing, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance says, "Using the child as the spokesperson, the advertisement focuses on how unavoidable expenses eat into your savings for the kid. Certainly, this ad is clutter-breaking. It's certainly different from other advertisements in this category. It's designed to invoke dissonance in the minds of viewers and prompt action."
Sanjai Srivastava, vice president of Lowe, the agency which has done the creative, says, "Since the impact of the investment policy is on the kid, parents need to understand its implications on the child and this could be best demonstrated through the protagonist's point of view."
ICICI Prudential's Smart Kid Education Plan is a security for the child's future, in case of some unwanted events like parent's death. The sum assured under the plan is paid immediately to the family - to meet immediate liabilities and apart from that, all further premia are waived, and the policy remains in force.
Furthermore, the educational benefits at critical milestones remain guaranteed, no matter what - which means that the future of the child remains secure. Thus, there will be no financial obstacle in child's education.
Bhatia says, "We wanted to sent across a message of a structured plan of investment for the kids' future through this campaign. In our campaign, we could have pegged on the future of the kids, but we felt that people are interested in today and now, rather than the future."
To promote this scheme, ICICI Prudential has also adopted a few direct marketing initiatives - again involving the kids. For instance, when 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' hit the screens this summer, kids watching the movie in Mumbai got their chance to don a robe like their idol Potter, and smile into a camera. The same initiative was also undertaken at different Mumbai schools, where kids got the opportunity to get clicked with a graduation robe and cap.
To complete these activities, customised mailers, with the child's photograph, were sent to the kid's parents informing them about Smart Kid and how it could help secure their child's future.
Bhatia of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance says, "Unlike other financial products, Smart Kids education plan was for kids but the investment decision had to be taken by the parents. So, we decided to use an interactive, non-intrusive platform, to reach out to kids as well as their parents. And, this initiative has been successful in grabbing their attention in an interesting way and exposing them to ICICI Prudential."
He explains, "Generally, insurance agents or direct sellers are not entertained by the clients, but when our agent contacted a prospective client with his/her kid's photograph and a letter customised with the kids name, age and requirement, the agent not only got an entry to the drawing room, but also an ear to explain the plan."
Taking forward its non-intrusive approach, ICICI Prudential tied up with the bookstore Crossword at its flagship store in Mumbai. In this case, if a book-lover was browsing through the mystery section, she might have come across a book titled 'India's best unsolved mysteries'. Opening up the book, she will quickly realize that it's just a page long, giving some interesting information about solving retirement planning problems, or dwelling on the magic of compounding. The book also invited readers to get a free personalised financial planning at the ICICI Prudential counter.
ICICI Prudential had a stall in the bookshop and the customers who were interested in the plan certainly came and enquired at the counter. Bhatia, says, "Generally, customers don't like to be bothered while shopping and especially buying things like books - she is passionate about. Therefore, we adopted this non-intrusive approach to pull prospective customers to our stall and not push our products to any odd customer."
"Above all, this also created a strong brand awareness and recall. Whenever the customer - who have already had the "Prudential ICICI" experience - looks for a book at the Crosswords in future, she would certainly recall our brand."
Bhatia adds, "We have always been innovative with direct marketing initiatives." He gives an example of a recent direct marketing exercise that the company employed - where Mumbai's dabbawallas delivered a mailer in the form of a bitten apple to office-goers, with a message that read 'Tax could bite away 33 per cent of tax'.
Bhatia says, "At ICICI Prudential, we believe in all kinds of innovative media, apart from the regular television commercial." © 2004 agencyfaqs!