REVIEWER: SONAL DABRAL
The chairman and chief creative officer of DDB Mudra Group, Sonal Dabral has more than two decades of experience in advertising, having worked on brands such as Audi, Fiat, Tata Safari, Unilever Foods, Ponds, GE and Nestle’s Maggi, among others. Dabral began his career at Lintas, Delhi, followed by stints at Mudra and, then, Ogilvy in Mumbai and Malaysia. His last assignment was in a dual role as the regional creative head and chairman-India at the advertising agency Bates, operating out of Singapore and Mumbai.
The Birla Sun Life Insurance ad by JWT opens in a sunny setting with cricketer Yuvraj Singh visiting a school where cricket net practice is under way. Singh talks to the children, telling them about his journey through illness and his comeback to the game. The message is that the future is unpredictable, and you have to plan for it today.
Your first thoughts on the ad?
I was impressed that Birla Sun Life Insurance was one brand that had stuck with Yuvraj even when he was down and then remained with him through his ordeal. It pleased me when I saw this ad as it was timely and gave an inspiring message to everyone rather than just sell a product.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing really, as the message seems to have been pitched perfectly. I like the overall feel and message the ad conveys quite a lot. As for the specifics, I’d have probably spent a little more time crafting the ad. It seems slightly disjointed at places and the production lacks the finesse of the previous two commercials the brand did with Yuvraj. That aside, I like that it’s sunnier, happier and more uplifting.
What are your thoughts on leveraging the cricketer’s personal life with the brand and the campaign?
Birla Sun Life signed on Yuvraj as a brand ambassador much before he was unfortunately detected with cancer. They used him to sell their product when they signed him on a few years back and after his illness, they have once again used him to send out a bigger message.
Any other ads in the life insurance category that caught your attention, internationally?
Thai Life Insurance in Thailand has done some brilliant work in this category in the past few years. Their ads “Daddy” and “The Melody of Life” are not only moving and impactful pieces of communication, they deservedly won a bunch of awards at many shows. I would recommend everyone to see these ads to learn how emotion is handled on film.
Is the financial services segment challenging to advertise?
It’s as challenging or as easy as any other category. If you work with true insights, it’s easy to create path-breaking work. If you rush into it, it’s difficult.
As told to Suneera Tandon.