Ananya Pathak

“Ab to karwa lo health insurance…” implores Sumeet Vyas for Policybazaar in ads that make no mention of COVID

The TV commercials, shot before the pandemic, seem to have a renewed meaning now. We spoke to the brand’s COO Sharat Dhall about them.

In a pandemic-stricken world, health insurance seems to hold all the more value. However, when Policybazaar ideated its recent campaign, which features actor Sumeet Vyas, Coronavirus wasn’t this big a threat, at least in India. Vyas imploring “Ab to karwa lo health insurance…” may seem more apt in these times, but the messaging was actually conceptualised for the pre-COVID-19 world.

The two 15-second-long TV commercials are currently being shown across channels. In one, Vyas cribs about the exhaustive hospital bills, and in the other, he rides on a guilt trip - ‘Who’ll pay your kid’s school fee if you die tomorrow?’. The selling point clearly underlined in both these ads is – ‘Mehnga nahi hai’.

Sharat Dhall, chief operating officer,, says the brand touched upon the affordability aspect in order to make consumers realise that the protection they need is within their reach. “We also wanted to persuade them to make the purchase decision sooner rather than later…,” he says.

Sharat Dhall
Sharat Dhall

Speaking of the campaign's ideation, he mentions, “Our intent was to create awareness about the importance of insurance in financially safeguarding one's family against life and health risks. It is extremely essential for people with responsibilities to be prepared for unforeseen situations that could drain their savings and critically hamper the financial stability of their family. Term and health insurance are a simple protection against events like these.”

Dhall adds that procrastination has been a huge challenge when it comes to the buying behaviour in the category, and a key factor in the extremely low penetration of insurance in India. “However, we have seen that with consistent advertising that is addressing the benefits in a very clear and direct manner, more and more people are now realising the importance of insurance,” he says.

What’s interesting to note is that the ads, ideated before these unprecedented times, have a renewed meaning today. Vishal Nicholas, senior vice president and head – planning, Dentsu India, feels there are a couple of interesting references in the two ads that will get magnified as COVID-19 cases increase. “First, the reference to hefty medical bills due to 'badi beemariyon' and 'achche hospitals' in the ads. As reports in newspapers of hefty bills in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients are beginning to surface, it will put the spotlight on the need for health insurance. The second reference is specifically calling out to those covered by their office health insurance, but are still at the risk of being under-insured,” he points out.

Vishal Nicholas
Vishal Nicholas

All of the above scenarios, Nicholas states, will certainly tip the scales over for those still doubting the need for health insurance. Which, in any case, is a must, COVID-19 or no COVID-19.

He also mentions, “Pre-COVID-19, the 'It will never happen to me' feeling was probably the biggest barrier that health insurers were up against, besides it being less ingrained in financial culture than a life insurance. However, there is no doubt that right now everyone is feeling less invincible. As a result, the interest in health insurance will organically go up.”