Sunday, December 5, 2010

HDFC Standard Life Insurance: Sar Udhake Jiyo! Hold Your Head High!

I am perhaps the only one in my family, who is not in the  "playing with widows money" industry, or, as it is officially known,  the life insurance industry!. My parents were LIC employees and my sister is now employed with them. I am by exception, an advertising professional and my only exposure to the insurance industry as a professional was in 2004, when I handled the HDFC Standard Life Insurance account as an advertising agency representative.
Deepak Satwalekar the head of HDFC Standard Life Insurance, was a man I had immense respect for and someone I knew through his son Abhijit, who trained under me at PSLMcCann Erickson in the late nineties. Deepak was one of the key leaders behind the success of HDFC, a housing finance institution, which made the dreams of many Indians for a home they could call their own,come true. HDFC was very rooted and humane, a trait which probably was a reflection of its top management and I was therefore keen  on working on the HDFC Standard Life business. Deepak had got on board a very grounded but aggressive and clear headed marketing head by the name of Sanjay Tripathy. We hit it off from the word go and I was happy to learn that we were both IRMA Alumni!
I left the agency after a very short stint, since I did not share their view of life and means of doing business, but the relationship with Deepak and Sanjay continued. During my stint, Sanjay and Deepak approved the proposition of "self -respect" as an emotional payoff  that came with financial independence.The tag line, "sar udhake jiyo", which was coined by Harish, a writer who worked with the Delhi branch of the agency, came into being. The first film was directed by Nikhil Advani and the print was photographed by Suresh Natarajan.
I had an issue with the film, in that it focused on the "physical" aspect rather than the "fiscal" aspect, but I had to bow down to the team decision:) Sanjay, however, thought the same and with Leo Burnett as his agency, he came out with campaigns which were bang on target!
Under his stewardship the brand became one of the most salient in the category.Though it never won awards, it is one of the most respected brands in the country today and I am told, it appears in popular choices, very often.
Sanjay Tripathy has also been savvy in terms of media planning and media buying. The brand has been visible and has maintained salience which explains the high recall scores it has got. The sponsorship with Rajasthan Royals is a case in point. The Shane Warne and Yousuf Pathan commercials stayed true to the brand which is a hallmark of a clear headed strategy and Sanjay Tripathy deserves full credit for it, along with the team at Leo Burnett,  which is headed by K.V.Sridhar (Pops) and Arvind Sharma.

Given below is the showreel of commercials.

The launch commercial - 2004 December.- Pension Plans

The bicycle commercial- Pension Plans

This incidentally is among my favourite TVC's! From the physical and filmi to the fiscal and grounded!! Perfect!

Childrens Plans - Father and Daughter - US Scholarship

Another favourite! The brand retains its identity in this category also which is where mature and savvy marketing minds score!

Childrens Plans- Child and Father- Astronaut

HDFC Unit Linked Savings Plans- Father's car!

Interesting how the brand promise has been extended into other sub-categories! There is no confusion in terms of brand character and the proposition is crystal clear. I think it is also a case of client and agency working well together!

Back to Pension Plans - Singapore sling!

Recent posts and links

The logo has undergone a change and the association with HDFC is being strengthened. Standard Life is no longer part of the identity.

Business Standard Article on Rebranding of HDFC Life

The new commercial: 2010 December


Wishing Sanjay and his team...Boniface, Salil and the people at Leo Burnett- Arvind, Pops .. the very best!


Manjeet said...

Sir...U r right in saying dat the marketing camapaign is one of d finest, well thought n my opinion.....I always watched whenever aired on TV....Never knew its artwork of few of d Irmans....M Proud Again....

Vinod Natesan said...

Vinod – I studied your article. Tried to put my comments. Somehow the blog did not accept my comments for want of some id….
Here they are.
This HDFC campaign was a trend-setter in changing social fabric of our country. I can very well relate it to a scorpion's mindset.
My professional view as a Talent Search professional:
Your knowledge on advertising and its dynamics and clarity of thoughts would be frightening for your peers, boon for your juniors & pupils.
Deal only with the genuine stake-holders for your business deals.

With every best wish,
Rajendra S Bisht

Hitesh said...

I was quite impressed by HDFC life ads but never knew of IRMAN angle