Financial Advertising in India

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Insurance ads in india have come a long way in the last three decades. Be it television commercials, print ads, or bill boards. The change is remarkably noticeable. Earlier most of the advertising in this sector tended to play crudely on our consistent fear of the future and the unknown. A case in point being the television advertisement of firms like United India Assurance, National Insurance and Oriental Insurance. All the aforementioned companies provided insurance policies for contingencies like fire, robbery and natural disasters. Television commercials of that time tended to be rawly cooked scripts put together in the doors of hard sell copy. All of them invariably, toyed with our fear factor.

In the new millennium ads in this sector have undergone an image makeover. Gone are elements like exaggerated visuals, theatrical voiceovers and melodramatic music. With the advent of foreign insurance companies like Bharti AXA, ICICI Prudential, Max NewYork, Iffco Tokyo, Aviva etc, ads have acquired a refined feel about them. Even if you look at Oriental life insurance’s more recent television commercials, the change in outlook is overtly clear. With a tagline like Prithvi, Agni, Jal, Aakash. Sabki suraksha hamare paas, they chose to concentrate on earthy and radiant visuals instead of opting for the time tested route of harbouring into your worst fears. Most ads of these firms have a subtle undertone to them. Old age once looked upon as a burden is now viewed as the harbinger of a second life where you are finally relieved of your filial responsibilities and can explore the world around without a care to the winds. HDFC Life Insurance’s tag line (Hamesha Aapke Saath) and SBI Life Insurance’s (With Us You are Safe) are prominent examples. Most of the insurance ads now focus on the relationship of the customer to his/her kith and kin and how much relationships ought to be valued and taken care of. A recent ICICI television commercial where an urban couple lovingly negotiate the responsibility of getting the future of your close ones assured illustrates this point.

HDFC Life Insurance’s ad campaign stresses on the importance of rising on your own feet and not having to be a liability on anyone else irrespective of your age, gender and income. One of the television commercials shows a father trying to make his kid sturdy and self sufficient, in spite of the age old notion of pampering kids with affection and care, raises a pertinent point. Another television romanticises old age as a new phase of adulthood by showing a 60 year- odd couple celebrating their togetherness.

Evidently insurance ads have come a long way from those days where all visuals needed to be potential catastrophes and the fear factor needed to be overtly stated.

True to its name, The Life Insurance Corporation of India was the first to introduce the concept of life insurance policies in the country’s insurance sector. In pre liberalisation India, LIC was looked upon as a life jacket at a time when the economic stability was more of a desired trait than reality. A lot of the ads during that time exploited the general sentiment of scepticism about the future to the utmost hilt. Simplistic images stressing on security of your near and dear ones and possessions manage to strike a chord most of the time. Many of the images were often utopian, with smiling and stress free faces of people in the ad sticking out prominently. The brand positioning around that time revolved around the fact that LIC as a firm understood Indian concerns, needs and fears better than its contemporaries (Hum Jaane Bharat Ko Behtar). The creative’s around that time, more often than not, tended to be shoddy images with the least amount of concern for the visual aesthetics.

Most of LIC’s current ads are a lot more colour coordinated and visually appealing as compared to its preceding ones. Now the thrust is to state the salient features...
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