Ananya Pathak
Marketing

'Act of God' insured...

Remember Kanji from the 2012 movie ‘OMG - Oh My God!’? He sued God for the earthquake that destroyed his antique shop after being informed at the insurance office that his disaster claim does not cover any damage caused by natural calamities classified under 'Act of God'. This certainly has been cause for a lot of pain for consumers seeking insurance in such situations. This also is the plot of ICICI Lombard's latest ad film released as a part of its #SochoMan campaign.

The two 30-second-long films – 'Act of God' and 'Man Made Calamities' – released as a part of the campaign, are stories of protagonists who are overly protective of their vehicles. In the perfectly Indian way, where one worships his four wheeler and prays to God to keep it safe, the other chains his two-wheeler before leaving it in the parking slot. While one is shocked when the car is destroyed by a stroke of lightning, the other finds it hard to believe that the two wheeler is (possibly) stolen.

The digital campaign covers each feature under the Motor Insurance available at ICICI Lombard such as Acts of God, Man-made calamities and Own damage, Act of God caught our attention given the confusion and noise around it.

According to an article published by Insurance Technologies Corporation, Acts of God are incidents or accidents brought on by instances in nature. Some of the most common include storms, tsunamis, certain types of wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hail, and flooding. Not all types of car insurance covers this type of incident.

In such a scenario, does the film suffice the purpose?

Industry speaks:

Commenting on the film, Naresh Gupta, co-founder and head intern at Bang in the Middle, thinks the new thing in the ad is the 'Act of God' angle. “Insurance brands have never communicated this aspect. To that extent the commercial is straight forward and does the job,” he says.

Naresh Gupta, co-founder and head intern at Bang in the Middle
Naresh Gupta, co-founder and head intern at Bang in the Middle

He adds, “The lead actor brings in a little charm to the ad, he makes it watchable.”

However, he is of the opinion that the ad needs to say more; point the viewer to a website, or a helpline in case they are actually trying to draw a conclusion to the pain point of getting insured for any act of God. “The issue is deeper. The new car is always sold with an insurance, so am I supposed to ask for Act of God element in the insurance? Is lightning the only Act of God? This needs a wider conversation, and that’s what I miss in the communication,” Gupta says.

Neeraj Sharma, head of planning, Rediffusion
Neeraj Sharma, head of planning, Rediffusion

Neeraj Sharma, head of planning, Rediffusion, opines that nobody would agree more than a marketer or an agency person working in the general insurance sector with this statement of management guru, Peter Drucker — 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast.' “The general insurance sector in India has been trying hard to jolt us out of our fatalistic belief system (also known as inertia) without much avail as penetration is still low. It seems like someone has found that asterisk (*) marked statement in our belief system bringing out the irony — 'In which thee believeth, that gent only destroys.’ Changing a belief system is not easy and we shouldn't expect a category expansion task from this one but getting the market share seems like a fair bet,” he concludes.

He feels since the Act of God is not covered in an insurance, this gives the brand a strong functional story to build. “This is an exercise in telling people "Why ICICI?" when everyone else too, offers the similar/same offer and in this context I think the communication does a good job.”

Gulshan Singh, national planning director, FCB Interface.
Gulshan Singh, national planning director, FCB Interface.

Gulshan Singh, national planning director, FCB Interface is of the opinion that this ad isn't enough to make consumers change their behaviour. "I believe they’re addressing the wrong problem – as a culture we have long had a fatalistic mindset, and overcoming this mindset would require that the brand offers an alternative narrative or belief system. The current ad is using cultural references well, but doesn’t address the root cause."