Sumita Vaid

Life is beautiful at 60, courtesy SBI's pension plan

While most insurance players pitch their products as 'protection' schemes, SBI Life's new ad focuses on the joys of life even after retirement

‘Pension' is for the old. For young working adults, it's mostly a case of living for the moment. Very little thought is spared for the future, and especially for life after retirement. Even when it comes to financial investments, the focus is on earning quick and handsome returns which help maintain their lifestyle in the now .

Does life stop at 58? Will the young reconcile to a dull existence when their own turn to quit working life comes? Living with children is no longer a given. They are likely to drift away, leaving their ageing parents to fend for themselves. That's why the working adults need to invest now for a retired life without tension. The SBI life's new ad campaign for its pension plan focuses on this aspect.

The ad film by O&M Advertising opens on an elderly woman working on her sewing machine. Her white hair is dishevelled, her head is bent in concentration. Her husband, dressed in faded vest and lungi, walks into the room. The couple starts to talk.

After a few moments, he gives his wife a small red box. She opens it matter-of-factly. Inside is a diamond ring. In shock, she pushes the box away (but not too far; it stays within her reach). She asks her husband to return the jewel as it is clearly beyond their income.

The doting husband persuades her to keep the solitaire because it is Valentine's Day. The wife, coy now, says she is too old to wear a diamond. Her husband cajoles her, saying, "Arre, heere ko kya pata tumhari umar" ("The diamond does not know your age").

The ad ends with a reminder, ‘Taake pyaar ke beech kabhi paison ki kami na aaye' (‘So that money never comes in the way of love'), as SBI Life introduces the pension scheme.

"The standard of living is improving, the number of nuclear families is growing, and with improved medical facilities, the average life span is increasing. So, clearly there is a future to life after retirement. But many ignore this and devote their life only for the upkeep of the present, unmindful of financial insecurities in the future," explains Pradeep Pandey, marketing and communications head, SBI Life.

Therefore, O&M's attempt was to communicate a future "free from financial constraints" to the target group aged between 25-45 years. "And, that meant telling the target group that the time to invest in that secure future was now - in the present. So, as young people go on loving and caring for their family without financial constraints, SBI Life will manage the money for them. That became our starting point," elaborates SBI Life's Pandey.

The job for the creative team at O&M was to find a way to show a secure and happy retired life in a way that would make young working people consider pension seriously. "After many thinking sessions with the client, we arrived at the positioning, ‘financial freedom in your old age'. That was something no one else had said before," believes Sagar Mahabaleshwar, creative director, O&M.

Most of the players in financial services have positioned insurance or pension policies as a way of safeguarding one's life against eventualities. Old age is one of them. However, a romantic look at a life free from financial obligations and compromises is, indeed, novel.

Once the thought was clear, the idea had to be translated into a thought-provoking visual. "As we discussed how to take this forward, Piyush Pandey (executive chairman and national creative director, O&M) came up with the idea of using a retired couple. In fact, this idea was inspired by his own life," Mahabaleshwar points out.

In this product category, emotions are key and, in the TVC, love is the centrepiece of the communication. "For all those years, when the husband wanted to give something precious to his wife, financial constraints and obligations had come in the way. Now, he is free from those responsibilities and yet, has the financial strength to realise his lifelong wish of gifting his wife a diamond ring. That, in essence, is the objective of the communication," explains Mahabaleshwar.

Besides the agency and the directorial talent of Prasoon Pandey of Corcoise Films, much of the credit goes to the actors who play husband and the wife. The chemistry between the two is unmistakable. "That is because they are professional theatre actors," says Mahabaleshwar, and adds with a laugh: "They also happen to be married to each other!"

© 2004 agencyfaqs!

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