We talk to the brand and Wondrlab about the campaign and the need for authenticity in ads.
Tata AIG's recent spot, Expect the Expected, featuring Ranbir Kapoor and Rohit Shetty, is gaining attention for its authentic portrayal and clever use of celebrities. In an era where celebrity-driven campaigns often face criticism for lacking authenticity, this 45-second ad stands out for cleverly integrating real-life conversations about Shetty's and Kapoor's cinematic backgrounds.
Keeping the ‘reel’ ‘real’
Despite persistent scrutiny of celebrity-driven campaigns due to their perceived lack of authenticity, recent campaigns heavily dependent on celebrities have garnered criticism for relying solely on star power without demonstrating sufficient creativity.
"The conversation was about Ranbir and action films and who will be the next big name in Rohit Shetty’s cop universe which has been around for a while. These real-life conversations are what is really connecting with the people out there.”Amit Akali, co-founder and chief creative officer, Wondrlab
When asked how the brand navigates such situations, Amit Akali, co-founder and chief creative officer, Wondrlab, says that in this case, it is not only the celebrity but also the story-telling that has worked in the brand’s favour.
“We have based real-life conversations in our story authentically. The conversation was about Ranbir and action films and who will be the next big name in Rohit Shetty’s cop universe which has been around for a while. These real-life conversations are what is really connecting with the people out there.”
"Even actors now are demanding more authentic scripts. In this case, it's them (Kapoor and Shetty) making fun of themselves. These are the campaigns that work out.”Amit Akali, co-founder and chief creative officer, Wondrlab
Akali suggests that issues with celebrity campaigns emerge when the audience becomes aware that the celebrities themselves do not use the promoted product, a fact that viewers discern early on.
“The audience catches these campaigns really early on. Even actors now are demanding more authentic scripts. In this case, it's them (Kapoor and Shetty) making fun of themselves. These are the campaigns that work out.”
Breaking through the clutter
According to a Visual Capitalist report, Sixty-nine percent of Gen Z’ers find ads to be disruptive and Sixty-three percent of Gen Z’ers say they prefer to see real people rather than celebrities in ads.
“It is important for brands to ask themselves if a celebrity can even tell their story."Riaan Rodrigues, sr. vice president – digital business & marketing, TATA AIG
Riaan Rodrigues, sr. vice president – digital business & marketing, TATA AIG, states that consumers, especially the younger generation, definitely crave more authenticity, “It is important for brands to ask themselves if a celebrity can even tell their story. There are still people who believe that a face can be used to break through clutter. Personally, I am not a big fan of it but if the celebrity is adding value to the narrative then I don’t see a problem. There is a reason why Rohit Shetty and Ranbir Kapoor are part of our campaign,” he adds.
Brands in the insurance category have traditionally been using tropes of fear and failure in their ads. However, many brands like PolicyBazaar, PhonePe and now Tata AIG have used humour in their campaigns tastefully.
Akali agrees that the shift has happened because the product category has been well-established, however, people’s concerns have shifted. Many question whether they can trust the claims of the insurance freely. The campaign intends to strengthen people’s trust in Tata AIG.
According to Rodrigues, the intent behind the campaign was to tell potential customers and Tata AIG’s consumers that they would fulfil all their claims and promises. Rodrigues adds that the disruption is a key part of what they do at Tata AIG. “With a category like ours, what we say is very well established but how do we say it has to be clutter breaking.”
Akali further emphasises the clutter-breaking nature of the campaign. He says, “There are almost five lakh reels being made on Instagram every minute. With so much content out there, if you don’t say what you have to say in a disruptive way, people will not remember you.”
Maybe because they recognise this need for disruption, some recent campaigns have incorporated real-life incidents or celebrated film/TV characters of actors in their ads. For instance, Rungta Steel's advertisement featuring Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt, and Ranbir Kapoor showcased them in their Jawan, Barfi, and Shanaya avatars, respectively.
Genesis of a narrative
Ranbir Kapoor, the longstanding brand ambassador for Tata AIG, has been associated with the brand for a couple of years, featuring in campaigns like Trusted Naam, Fantastic Kaam. However, in a departure from previous approaches, this marks the first instance where the brand has chosen a true-to-life narrative in its advertisements.
According to Akali, the narrative of the campaign stemmed from Tata AIG's reputation as one of the most trustworthy names in the insurance industry. “We also realised that the brand is doing a lot and not just resting on its name and legacy. Ranbir Kapoor personifies this. He’s got the name and heritage but he works twice as hard as anyone out there.”
"This time, when we aimed to spotlight the brand's claims," Akali explains, “we realised that people actually expect ‘the expected’ from us. Just like they expect high-pitched action in Rohit Shetty’s films. They trust Tata AIG to fulfil all their claims.”
In the days leading up to the campaign's release, behind-the-scenes shots from the shoot became viral on social media, generating speculation about Shetty and Kapoor collaborating on a Bollywood project. Despite the campaign being shot well in advance of the release of Kapoor’s latest blockbuster, Animal, its impact has resonated well with audiences.
Akali shares the excitement of both Shetty and Kapoor about the ad and the script, highlighting the unique experience of having an actual action director on set. “If you see the ad, there are few shots of Ranbir jumping and beating the goons. We have also flipped a car just like Rohit Shetty does in his films, the entire techniques behind those shots and what actually goes behind them was thrilling. Although we wanted to flip more cars, there is only so much you can do for a 45-second film,” he shares.
The campaign promises additional films starring Kapoor and Shetty, with Rodrigues confirming a 360-degree approach, emphasising a substantial television spend in the overall campaign strategy.