CRIC

When HDFC Life waited six months to release a campaign

The short film put together by Wieden + Kennedy shows five retirees young at heart, excited to pursue their dreams after retirement

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Aug 27, 2020 4:54 PM
HDFC Life

We save for medical emergencies, that big world tour, for our children’s future, but how many of us actually save for our own future - our second innings post retirement. The new HDFC Life annuity campaign makes post retirement life look good, purposeful and tells us how to achieve it too by asking a simple question - Aap badhe hoke kya banna chahte ho.

Talking about the insight behind it, Vishal Subharwal, EVP – E-commerce & Digital Marketing, HDFC Life says, “There is a retirement instrument called annuity which is widely known in developed economies but not so much in India. What it does is allows you to get a guaranteed pension on a monthly or annual basis. People typically work hard and spend their wealth on their children's education, marriage etc, they barely keep anything aside for themselves. With bank FDs or a mutual fund or post office or national savings certificate, the interest rate remains volatile; you can't clock in a particular interest rate for the rest of your lifetime. So we wanted to build this product category in India and change the mindset about retirement. I personally believe that all of us want to retire, retire early or retire rich, but primarily what we are looking for is financial independence.”

But what really excited the agency about the campaign. Gautham Narayanan, Managing director, W+K Delhi explains, “One of the greatest things about working with a company like HDFC Life is the understanding of the consumer, tailoring and crafting products that is right for the consumer. HDFC Life’s marketing team showed us a decade old campaign for a financial product which was cited as one of the best behaviour change campaigns in the world. And what gets me excited is the ambition of wanting to create something profoundly that great, globally. I think as an agency, there's no better brief in terms of let's do a behavior change, and let's try and do something world class. I think that's really inspiring for an agency. And then when you layer on top of that a great product that can deliver on the behavior change that we seek to enable, I think you're onto something really interesting.”

To simplify the concept of annuity, in addition to the ad, a special micro site was created which brings the characters of the film to life in an interactive comic strip format, designed by the famous cartoonist Sailesh Gopalan, Founder of Brown Paperbag Comics. Elaborating on whether the idea for it came from the brand or the agency, Narayanan says, “I can't remember. And that's the way we love working. It is really important that you really respect not just the marketing team, but the product teams, the behavior, analyzing teams behind the financial instruments and algorithms. My simple analogy is when I go to a financial advisor I'm like a stenographer taking very detailed notes. But when I go home it is like everything went from English to Greek. We felt that advertising alone won’t enable behavioural change. No matter how good the ad, people will go to the website to find out more and that step should not be complicated.”

Talking about how the brand has performed since the onset of the pandemic, Subharwal says, “We've been outperforming the industry and have increased our market share by about one and a half basis points or so. There is an increased demand for insurance from consumers, especially for protection plans and products where the risk is limited like interest rate guaranteed plans such as annuities and ‘Sanchay Plus’. So we've seen a bit of risk aversion that the customers are kind of displaying right now.”

Wieden + Kennedy and HDFC Life have been working with each other for roughly a year now but this is the first campaign that was launched since the association started. In fact the ad was made before the lockdown but they timed the release with Independence Day to fit their financial independence theme of 100% independence, zero dependence. Narayanan explains, “We started our interactions for a project around April-May last year and this ad was shot at the end of last year and everything was ready to go. But then we had some really open and honest conversations around when should we release the ad because even though there might be demand for something like this in the new normal, it is also a very sensitive time for people in India. So for a brand as big as HDFC Life to be seen to be kind of taking advantage of the situation didn’t seem right. And the marketing team made the right call, to wait.”

Talking about whether the brand intends to spend heavily during IPL and Festive season, Subharwal says, “Yes, that’s part of the course for insurance companies typically. Right now we have a campaign which is running on the term category as well. We are attacking the two areas of protection, one is mortality- the risk of dying early, and the other is longevity - the risk of living a very long life. So, the term campaign is full funnel campaign, while this one is a digital specific campaign.”

The short film shows five retirees young at heart, supremely excited to pursue their dreams thanks to HDFC Life Pension Guaranteed Plan responding to the question ‘Aap badhe hoke kya banna chahte ho’..Answering the same question Narayanan says, “I want to be what I wanted to do when I was 17 i.e. be a French teacher because I really liked the language when I was growing up in the UK. Back then my mother dismissed it saying, “Don't be silly”. And she may have been right too. But I really enjoy teaching. So whether it's French or something else, I would love to kind of try to impart a tiny bit of the wisdom I picked up.” In the true spirit of the campaign Subharwal says, “I think I may continue doing what I’m doing with more independence.” Signing off he says, “I would like to be an independent financial advisor or perhaps even write a book around financial independence.”

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