In a life insurance ad that features a stand-up comic and makes no mention of tropes like ‘death’, ‘fear’, ‘anxiety’ but talks about inertia.
“It's the oldest story in the world. One day you're 17 planning for someday and then quietly, without you ever noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.”
Nathan Scott, the protagonist of the American drama television series ‘One Tree Hill’ said this line more than eight years ago. It came back to life for yours truly when he watched Bajaj Allianz Life’s new ad.
The quote speaks about the relentless march of time and that it stops for nobody. And if you’re late for something, you are more than likely to rue it in the future.
Clocking in at just over two minutes, Bajaj Allianz Life has stand-up comic and LinkedIn’s funniest guy Rahul Subramanian tell us how his procrastination in investing kept his dream of buying a new car a dream. Please note, it’s not the first ad for the life insurance co that Subramanian has starred in.
The message at the end of the ad sums it up: Saal automatically badalta hai, par aapki life nahi. Invest karna shuru karo aur apne Life Goals. Done Karo.
It is true that the later you invest, you stand to reap in less positive returns than an early investor.
But what caught our eye or ears were the zero mentions of “death”, “anxiety”, “what will happen to my loved ones when I am not there?”… So much that we nearly had a heart attack when we saw the ad for the first time. Instead, we had Subramanian talking to us like a friend over a video call – something you don’t expect to see in a life insurance ad.
Maybe it was the pandemic that had altered the narrative of of ‘fear’, ‘anxiety’, ‘death’ which was commonplace in life insurance ads. It must have forced the brands to tweak their communication strategies.
“We’re leveraging social media to build resonance and deliver the message in a manner it should be to the younger audience,” said Chandramohan Mehra, chief marketing officer, Bajaj Allianz Life.
He went on to say that their strategy is based on ensuring that the brand and messaging is relevant to the audience, context and medium. In this case, the #startnow campaign aims at “influencing a change in inertia-centric consumer behaviour amongst the younger audience when it comes to financial planning, discipline and action for enabling their long term life goals.”
It sure makes sense to target the younger audience but are they buying life plans because of the features on offer or because of its “tax-saving” benefits.
Mehra told us that they had commissioned a research a year ago to deepen their understanding about the life goals of Indian consumers across the profiles of age, income and geography. “Research revealed that life insurance was rated as the most preferred financial instrument for realising life goals, for all age groups including millennials.”
He went on to reveal that pure protection products, a sub-category of life insurance products, saw its affinity increase during the pandemic.
“The prime motivator to subscribe to pure protection plan is providing for a back up for family’ life goals. The other subcategory which is broadly savings and investment products, the motivator is to prepare for long term life goals,” signed off Mehra.
“What they’ve (Bajaj Allianz Life) done is they’ve converted a serious subject into a colloquial conversation that people have over a drink or a coffee. They’ve made it real and conversational,” remarked Upendra Namburi.
He’s the founder of ideaearth, a platform that connects businesses with innovative solutions. He was the chief innovation and marketing officer at Bharti AXA General Insurance before his present gig.
He went on to observe that brands are getting closer to real-life narratives and “life insurance brands, with an ad like this, have broken that barrier. Usually, they’d appear out of sync with this world but now they’re appearing more relatable.”
Namburi remarked that the most important thing is that “this is not an advertisement, it’s a narrative, it is a story. I actually think Rahul is talking to me, there is a human element.”
The other beauty of this ad is that most people think others around them are perfect and they’re the ones who are faulty (late to investing while others are doing well). Conversations like this say dude it’s cool, you’re not the only one buggered up on savings…it’s happening with everyone chill…
“What stand-up comedians do brilliantly is create humour around faults, all of us are buggered up and that’s where the humour comes in.”
Namburi credits this change in communication to the present generation that is more resilient and confident than its predecessor. We’ve seen death is a major part of life insurance conversations but unfortunately, “death was a subject you rarely discussed. Now people are more willing to talk about it and are saying it’s real… with the maturity, resilience, and awareness, people don’t have taboos as much as they used to.”
I think it is a brilliant communication for the category because “it’s simplifying the category, it’s a conversation and myself talking to Bajaj Allianz Life but with Rahul” said the ideaearth founder.