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MetLife India’s communication evolves; ventures into product-based advertising

MetLife India’s communication evolves; ventures into product-based advertising

Author | Gokul Krishnamurthy | Wednesday, Mar 29,2006 7:44 AM

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MetLife India’s communication evolves; ventures into product-based advertising

MetLife India, whose communication since its launch in January 2002 has been largely ‘corporate’, has added a new dimension to this function. A series of print advertisements focused on driving home benefits of individual product offerings are in the media currently, and a television campaign on the same lines will break in May.

‘You don’t stop thinking of your family once you’re 60. Why buy an insurance policy that does?’ – that’s the creative McCann Erickson has come up with to drive home the benefits of Met Smart, while ‘If you’ve just bought a retirement plan just to save taxes, that’s about all it’s going to do’ communicates for a unit linked pension plan, Met Advantage.

The line of communication was a natural evolution for MetLife India that started off with the credibility and insurance expertise of MetLife, explained Gaurav Suri, Marketing Director, MetLife India.

“When we started off in India, we were the only insurance form to come in with the parent name, and the first communication was focused on assuring customers and say that we were experts in the insurance business for over 100 years, we were an MNC, and so on. The second round of communication spoke about the safety net, brought in the Indian context, and was all about the uncertainties. The third piece of communication is really a natural evolution,” Suri explained.

The approach has helped. The awareness levels were at 12 per cent in August 2003, and moved up to 20 per cent in March-April 2004 (Total Awareness, AC Nielsen Insurance Bus). By the same studies, the awareness level was at 38 per cent in March 2005.

The third generation of communication – if one can call it that – is an attempt to differentiate the offering in a cluttered, ‘life’ centric space. “That’s a task we have tried to address – give them a reason to buy. It was a partial attempt to raise education levels. Insurance is also a sector where the first task is to get the influencer to understand that it is a need-based thing,” Suri further said.

MetLife India has worked on its distribution, and it has grown from its initial seven-city presence to 28 locations and 43 offices currently. There is, admittedly, a lot of distance to cover on the awareness front, and the corporate campaign and distribution expansion will travel alongside the new campaign. The product advertising, too, does not promote a sub-brand, and the corporate cause is furthered.

While the market typically comprised 25 to 40-year old earning males, the demographic is getting younger, noted Suri. He said, “What we found was that those less than 25 years of age, too, were buying into the idea, also possibly because of the advent of new age industries like IT and IteS, where people start off early; and they get the benefit of age and a huge cover. 18-20 per cent of our population is in that age group, and that’s a large population from Bangalore.”

The spokesperson attributed 35-40 per cent of sales coming from the January-March quarter to a ‘hangover of the past’. He added, “Once people start realising that it is linked to a need, this should change. Over a period of time, it will even out.”

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