The more outlandish the creative, the more it will be noticed. But in a serious category like insurance, a floozy treatment may actually put consumers off, even scare them away
IDBI Federal Life Insurance has launched its 'Wealthsurance' Plan, and the marketing strategy seems to be to expand at all costs, even if it means getting thieves and monks into the portfolio.
Two very funny commercials are on the air. In the first one, a thief catches hold of an IDBI agent in a dark alley. And while the camera pans out, you expect the worst to happen to the poor gent. But later we discover, like a true salesman, the dude not only survives, he manages to sell the 'Wealthsurance' Plan to the chor! Punch line: 'IDBI Federal ka Wealthsurance- Jisne bhi suna, kharid liya'.
In the other film, a top corporate exec/industrialist decides to take sanyaas from life, much to the dismay of his colleagues and family members. He even gets his head shaved off.
However, just as he exits the fancy bungalow, the canny IDBI agent arrives at the doorstep. And sells him the rocking scheme. And our newly-turned sanyaasi finds enlightenment in the 'Wealthsurance' Plan!
Well, I must say the commercials are very humorous and very entertaining. You will not tire of watching them over multiple exposures, and that's a sign of good advertising. Also, the over-the-top treatment, that of using very unlikely protagonists, will help the campaign break the clutter. Important in a highly crowded and hyperactive financial services category.
So far so good.
However, here's something for the category brand managers to chew on: What the suits are hoping for the TV ads to do, is to create intrigue around the brand and the scheme, with an expectation that potential consumers will call the agents for a detailed discussion.
This strategy is highly iffy. Financial services as a whole is a very serious category and perhaps the creatives need to do more than just create a buzz around the brand. I think time has come for the TV ads to engage the consumers on an intelligent level, and bring out at least one (if not more) salient features of the plan, albeit in an entertaining way.
Because here's the danger: The more outlandish the creative, the more it will be noticed. But in a serious category, a floozy treatment may actually put consumers off, even scare them away. Insurance is no laughing matter.
In short, while I will notice the clutter-breaking adverts, I may take the offer very lightly. This is something the financial companies need to evaluate carefully.
Before they let the jokes on.
Tiruchirapalli (TN): The heavy industry department plans to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to facilitate hassle-free transportation of massive project materials anywhere in the country, reports PTI quoting a top government official.
Talking to reporters, department of heavy industry secretary BS Meena said at present, companies like BHEL-which manufactures heavy and huge power plant equipment-face hurdles in the transportation of materials to sites for upcoming thermal and hydel projects.
The ministry had convened an interdisciplinary meeting recently to assess the difficulties and problems, Mr Meena said.
Strategic recommendations have been presented to the road transport ministry, National Highways Authority of India and others, enabling them to introduce certain amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act, he said.
He said the road transport ministry has extended its support to the proposal, but before tabling the Bill in Parliament, some state governments have to revise the regulations.
He noted that on some state government highway routes, materials of weight exceeding 50 tonnes are not allowed to ply and mega-sized hydraulic cranes are also disallowed in some important road sectors.
The amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act are expected to give much-needed relief to heavy industries in the country, enabling them to comply with the rigid delivery schedule for equipment required for various projects across the country.
The railways ministry has already sanctioned a single-window clearance system for power plant equipment, enabling companies like BHEL to mobilise materials without any delay and procedural wrangles, he said.
On an unrelated note, Mr Meena said the heavy industries department has taken up the revival of sick industry units on a war-footing. Since 2004 the Centre has identified 33 sick heavy industries, out of which the revival of 18 industries had been taken up, he said.
Hindustan Photo Films in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu was also included in the agenda, he said.
On the overall performance of heavy industries, Mr Meena said there were "grey areas" in the areas of textile machinery, high-end machine tools and mining equipment manufacturing.
He observed that there were no takers for machine tools manufactured by Indian companies, as private companies were loathe to invest on equipment that did not match up to global standards.
He said the ministry was examining proposals for establishing cluster-backed common facility centres, financial or strategic support for implementing new technologies, programmes to bridge the skill gap faced by industry and ensuring results from R&D projects.
In this regard, the Planning Commission had already given the nod for setting up common facility centres for the industry to collaborate on various initiatives and pending clearance from other ministries, the concept will hopefully crystallise in the next six months, he said.
He said the centres will come up through private and public investment on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis.
Mr Meena, who visited the BHEL complex here, said, "Days are not far off when BHEL Trichy Complex will clinch an annual turnover of Rs20,000 crore."
In the year 2009-10, BHEL Trichy clocked a turnover of Rs10,008 crore, translating into year-on-year growth of over 35%.