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Home > Business > Special

What's special about Aviva's pension plan ad

Govindkrishna Seshan in Mumbai | December 12, 2006

Have you checked off all the items on your to-do list? It's understandable if you have forgotten something: there are so many calls on your time.

Perhaps you should use sticky notes for the important stuff, like Aviva has done. The life insurance firm recently launched its first pension plan but worries that the potential customer group, men in the 25-45 age group, are likely to just forget to invest.

Which is why the company's new television commercial is a not-so-subtle reminder of the cost of procrastination.

A 30-something man is working at home when an animated post-it note jumps on top of the laptop and informs him that his credit card bill is overdue. The busy executive reaches across and rips off the note. A "cost of postponement" meter at the bottom of the screen rings up Rs 2,400. Another reminder pops up: "book flat today".

As the man crosses out the "today" from the note, the meter shows the cost as Rs 10,02,400. Even as he crumples this note, it's time for the next message: the cost of postponing your pension savings plan from 35 years to 40 is a whopping Rs 33 lakh.

Those numbers do the trick; the yuppie agrees to invest - just as a cushion hits him on the head and his wife stalks over, glares at him and turns away. A final post-it message appears - "buy anniversary gift".

As the meter goes haywire trying to tot up that cost, the man groans and buries his face in the cushion.

Aviva usually opts for product-centric advertising - its previous campaigns were for its flexible lifelong insurance policy and freedom lifeplan - and the pension plan ad follows the same trend. But with a difference.

"Apart from building our brand, we are also taking the opportunity to position ourselves as a pension company," says Bert Paterson, managing director, Aviva Life Insurance India.

The company will invest "significantly" in brand building in the coming year, he adds. The goal? To move up two slots and become the fifth-largest private insurance company in the country.

Which is why the company and its agency, Publicis, spent so much time on the new campaign.

"The 'think-of-life-after-retirement' campaigns had become too generic. Instead, we have tried to communicate the fact that the sooner you invest, the better placed you will be," says Vivek Khanna, director, marketing, Aviva Life Insurance India.

The numbers help provide the dramatic impact Aviva was seeking � rather than say it in words, the company believes that quantifying the cost of postponement will drive home the need for a pension plan.

For the campaign, Aviva's marketing team did some heavy number-crunching before it came up with the maximum impact figures: according to the insurance company's calculations, an annual premium of Rs 1 lakh invested at 10 per cent will yield Rs 33 lakh more if invested at 35 years (up to age 60), than just five years later.

It was then up to the agency to convert this sales pitch into an ad campaign. For Publicis India, working on its third campaign for Aviva, the focus was simple.

"We wanted people to feel, 'this is about what's happening in my life'," says Param Saikia, COO.  While the filming of the TVC was wrapped up in just a day's shooting at Madh Island, near Mumbai, it was followed by three weeks of post-production work to bring in the post-it man.

The completed film was then shown to focus groups to gauge audience reaction, especially to the Rs 33 lakh figure. The reaction, says Khanna, was exactly as desired. Not only did group members discuss the number, even their body language revealed that the calculations had made an impact: they stopped and paid attention.

The commercial went on air in the last week of November, in time for that passion of most Indian men in the target age group: cricket season.

The 35-seconder was on ESPN during the India-South Africa one-day matches and simultaneously on Ten Sports, during breaks in the West Indies-Pakistan test series. During the matches, at every misfielding or run-out, the animated post-it man flashed on screen with a "delays can be costly" tagline.

It's not just cricket, of course. Aviva is also playing the ad on news channels like NDTV and Zee News, as well as Hindi entertainment channels like Star One and Zee. The campaign will run for three months, although shorter edits of 25 and 20 seconds will be aired after the first few weeks.

Traditionally, the end of the calendar year is a high-activity promotion period for financial companies, and Aviva is no different. Apart from television, hoardings in major cities and promotional material at Aviva offices across the country are also being planned. Besides, print ads will appear in major dailies like The Times of India and Hindustan Times. "Delays can be costly" tags will also appear next to breaking-news stories in the papers.

New media, too, has a role to play. Aviva has launched a website - to help visitors compute how much they need to invest now, based on their age and their projected post-retirement expenses.

On, the insurance firm has created an online game centred on a character called Late Latif who needs to hurry and collect coins in time to buy a house.  If only these activities help Aviva's investors remember to pay their premium.

Who Did What

Client: Aviva Life Insurance Co India
Agency: Publicis India
Creative: Anish Diddee
Client servicing: Sandeep Madan and Pooja Malhotra

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