We asked Chandramohan Mehra himself, the marketer in this new age 'ad'.
For a quick recap of the massive fitness wave that we witnessed not so long ago on social media, one simply can't forget the exercise routine video Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted back in May.
From cricketer Virat Kohli to Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan, top names from B-town came forward and generously posted videos to encourage people to stay fit.
Private life insurer, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance wants to make sure that the netizens of today don't get over it too soon and they are leaving no stone unturned with their new attempt.
Following the launch of Bajaj Allianz Life Health Care Goal, a critical-illness product covering 36 critical illnesses, the company unveiled a uniquely engaging #36SecPlankChallenge initiative.
The brand's fitness story with a twist:
It all started with a video asking viewers to hold a plank (an exercise position) for 36 seconds and challenge friends to do the same, all in an effort to build a healthier world. Participants/challengers were to shoot a video holding the position for 36 seconds and upload it on any social media platform using - #36SecPlankChallenge.
Participants can tag friends, family et al when uploading the video to challenge them and each new hashtag counts towards the company contributing monetarily to the Hrudaya - Cure a Little Heart Foundation (Hrudaya Foundation), a Hyderabad-based healthcare organisation dedicated to curing heart disorders in disadvantaged children.
Saina Nehwal, India's golden girl of badminton was among the first few to take up the #36SecPlankChallenge. She then began the chain by challenging others within the sports fraternity. This got things going bringing in other celebs who tagged their peers. The company is also roping in celebrities across the entertainment and corporate world to amplify the consumer-engagement initiative.
The health insurance policy claims to cover 36 critical illnesses including heart issues and cancer, with an option for a family cover and return of premium. This critical illness cover also offers an inbuilt waiver of a premium rider.
So, is it an attempt to ride the same fitness wave that PM Modi started with the Fit India movement through his Mann Ki Baat programme?
Chandramohan Mehra, CMO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance feels that strategically, it widens the initiative's reach on the back of a celebrity's massive followership on social media and it also deepens consumer engagement. And, of course, the choice of celebrity has to be relevant to the desired TG and the message.
Though it is endearing to see a brand's effort in addressing such relevant issues (India being the third most obese country in the world), are we missing the bigger picture? Has this fitness trend already become a part of an advertiser's mandate even before they know it?
Mehra is of the opinion that one of the ways to cut through the clutter is by making consumers central to the brand narrative.
"I believe that we have been fairly effective in telling stories through simple, insight-driven, yet engaging content; something that is atypical of the insurance category. #GraveyardOfGoals, our web series #GameofLifeGoals, leveraging 'Dancing Uncle', and now #36SecPlankChallenge, are some of the key initiatives we rolled out recently and are aimed at being relevant to the medium and TG," he shares.
"All stories have been unique in a way, while keeping the brand essence of Life Goals' enabler, intact. We will continue to learn and refine our approach so that we resonate with audiences and influence high brand engagement," Mehra adds.
"It had to build participation in a meaningful way and induce action that is slightly challenging but doable by a wider audience," he informs.
During the launch on FB Live, Bajaj Allianz Life's MD and CEO, Tarun Chugh also took to the plank position for 36 seconds when challenged by the host Aparna Popat, a 9-time national Badminton champion and an Olympian.
We asked Mehra how important it is for the executives to stay involved in the whole process of promoting the brand's newly launched scheme.
"The leadership team's engagement not only demonstrates a serious commitment from the organisation towards the initiative but also influences participation from all stakeholders," feels Mehra.
"In a typical way, we could have had a Town Hall and announced the product launch. But, launching the product along with the engagement initiative, through a live social media session, with a relevant sports personality, got us to connect with employees, agents, distribution partners, and the general public, all in one go and via a very popular medium," he explains.
What the experts think:-
Ramanujam Sridhar, CEO and founder of Brand-Comm states that insurance is one of the most difficult categories to advertise for as one can't possibly show death or illness and that is what the category is all about. "The interest level around fitness was, in a way, artificially engineered into it," he says.
One of the things going for the commercial is that it actually urges consumers to do something instead of simply lecturing them or boring them with simple facts, figures and clichés. And the peppy beat in the background is the last thing we expected to see in a conventional Insurance film.
However, the biggest thing going for the commercial lies in the fact that it subtly asks audiences how fat they are and what they need to do keep fit. So, from that perspective, Sridhar feels that the messaging is in line with what the brand objectives are.
Bikram Bindra, vice-president and strategic planning head, Grey Group - Delhi maintains that while it is commendable that the brand is trying to create a movement of sorts and rousing the masses into action, the current TVC on the initiative seems a bit contrived.
"I would have waited instead, for some time for the challenge context to plant itself more organically in the culture and showcase more real depictions. Perhaps there are other ways of getting consumers to join in, starting with the brand custodians themselves, which the brand is doing," says Bindra.
"Also, there is a sharp functional benefit that Bajaj Allianz offers and there is scope to drive home that unique benefit in a more hard-hitting fashion," he points out.