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O&M expresses it in black & white for SBI Life

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O&M expresses it in black & white for SBI Life

“This one is straight from heart,” states Pushpinder Singh, Senior Creative Director, O&M. He is talking about the new SBI Life campaign – the one enveloping the memories of childhood. The audiovisual campaign is black & white, and in print, by and large in sepia and earthy tones with a whiff of colour.

After the Close Up ad’s myriad hues and naughty teens, this campaign from the same duo – Pushpinder Singh and Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar (Creative Director – Art) comes as a surprise. The first question that crosses your mind is – why black & white? Replies Singh, “The focus in the campaign was on harnessing human emotions, and black & white communicates the emotions best. The commercial, in fact, was shot in colour but at the editing table we realised that in black & white emotions come out much stronger.”

The ad reminds one of a ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh. Replies Singh, “Yes you are right, I am a Gulzar fan and so is Shivendar Singh, who shot the film – hence there might have been some sort of inspiration at a level.”

Another thing that strikes you in this campaign – both in print as well as the audiovisual – is the absence of dazzling models. Explains Mahabaleshwarkar, “True. There are hardly any models in the entire campaign. They are real people in real life situations. And where a model has been used – it is not pretty looking faces but people who might be your next door neighbours.”

It is a 30 second commercial, with no short edits and cut offs. “How can you show emotions in less than 30 seconds?” asks Mahabaleshwarkar. They are pleased with the outcome of their hard work and the response it has received. “Within the rules of category – we are the first ones to step out. It is a delicate balancing act – reassuring and trustworthy, close to the heritage of State Bank of India and then again touching that emotional cord,” explains Singh.

And the client is happy too. Both in terms of ads created and the response to the campaign. Pradeep Pandey, Manager – Communications, SBI Life reflects on the reasoning for this different-looking campaign. “With the amount of advertising one sees, the need is to gain mind space among all the categories and not just insurance and finance related brands. What is more, we don’t want to be an elitist brand. We want to connect with the Indian psyche and that is what our brand is all about. The ads succeed both in cutting the clutter and reaching out to people,” he states.

"In three years, there have been a number of new players and immense competition, hence the need to make our presence felt. We wanted to create a different identity for ourselves, without moving away from heritage and trust that State Bank has become an epitome of,” adds Pandey.

Has the ad worked for SBI Life in the commercial sense? “Yes there is definitely an increase in the number of enquiries,” reveals Panday.


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