Max New York Life: Claims beyond education

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 20:20 hrs

Indians have always been reluctant buyers of life insurance. But they are ever ready to lap up plans linked to their children’s education. And that is what now drives growth in the industry. Naturally, insurance companies are all jostling for a bigger slice of this pie.

Max New York Life, ranked seventh among private insurers in the country, has launched a fresh television commercial that, it claims, goes beyond education — its unit-linked child plan, Shiksha Plus, "provides resources for the overall development of the child under all uncertain circumstances". Says Max New York Life Executive Vice-president and Chief Marketing Officer Anisha Motwani: "We are going to strategically own the child space."

The commercial uses a closed family conversation to depict a young couple’s desire to see its child succeed in academics, and then brings in the lateral talent of the boy. A light-hearted script tries to show how parents get so involved in just taking credit for their child’s achievements that they miss the real talent.

The setting is an early evening in the Gupta household. Low sunlight spills in through two large French windows. It’s a comfortable, lived-in room with lots of bookshelves and paintings. Akshay, dressed in office formals, is seated at the dining table, going through his mail. Roshni, in casuals, is sitting with him. Raj enters in school uniform, flings his bag down and flops down on the sofa looking dejected. Roshni enquires about the results of the Maths test. "Only two passed," the son replies. This triggers a blame game between the parents. Then Raj begins to giggle uncontrollably in the foreground, desperately trying to hide it behind clenched fists. He then shouts with a big grin: "A-plus." Roshni chides her husband in mock anger: "Do you still want him to go to acting classes?" The commercial is already on air.

Motwani says the commercial presents an argument which is not focused on what the child will become when he grows up or save for a child’s education. "These are old arguments and, of course, every parent knows that. The issue was really to present a case that built empathy with today’s parents," she adds.

It is the first of three commercials of 30 seconds each. The second focuses on how the couple gets caught up in claiming pride for their child’s gold medal, supposedly in academics. The kid gets confused and looks at them strangely: "But this time I have come first in painting." The last is on cricket and how the parents get confused by his reply to whose child he was — the mother’s or the father’s in terms of talent. Both the commercials will hit the channels during the Indian Premier League which starts on March 12.

"We undertook an ethnography research to understand and map the interactions and aspirations of today’s generation parents," says Motwani.

But, hasn’t Max New York Life been changing its ad line too often? Motwani feels, in today’s fast fatigue levels of viewers, thus consumers, it is a relevant move. "The typical GRPs (gross rating points, a standard measure in advertising) required for any new campaign today are 1,000 to 1,200, down from 3,000 to 3,500 a few years ago. Every new creative (across categories) peaks during weeks 4 to 6 of a seven- to eight-week campaign, beyond which the incremental impact on brand metrics starts diminishing."

The commercials have been created by Euro RSCG and filmed by Nomita and Subhir of Whitelight. Max New York Life wants to increase its penetration to 150 cities this year from 100 last year, and has formed a team of nine to promote branding at the micro level, says Motwani. She is optimistic of doubling the share of child plans in her portfolio by 2012.

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