Thursday, November 14, 2013

#greatestfan campaign - Reliance Life Insurance

"Sudhir is Indian cricket’s most well known fan. Let us support him" is what the latest campaign of Reliance Life Insurance says.  I have seen massive hoardings in Mumbai, heard radio commercials, and have visited their Facebook and Twitter profiles. I think the campaign is perhaps live on TV as well.

Every ad mentions it without fail that this campaign has no commercial purpose. It is a social responsibility led initiative from Reliance Life Insurance in support of the greatest fan of Sachin Tendulkar and India's favourite sport, Cricket. :)

I wonder, "why is Reliance being so foolish?" Why are they thinking that consumers are gullible and stupid enough to make believe anything on mass media.

What is even surprising is that the campaign is not in the news. There has been very little PR push around the campaign. I could find just one press release from Reliance Life Insurance that said 'Sudhir's passion is such that he does not have a regular source of income. He spends all his time cycling across the country (even abroad) following his idol Sachin Tendulkar. All this has led Reliance Life Insurance to come up with a social responsibility campaign to support him.'

The company’s Facebook page states, “For us, he is an embodiment of everything that comes in the way of planning for one's future. And that's why we have taken up Sudhir's cause and want to help him secure his future with a regular income. After all, retirement is definitive and needs planning before it becomes a shock.” If that is the fact, shouldn't Reliance be discouraging such fanatism?

I have been into communications for the past 15 years and I can say with certainty that consumers would look at this campaign as a desperate attempt by Reliance to take advantage of the media hype about the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. The current perception of Reliance in the minds of the consumers of being a shrewd business house further adds to this conclusion. Consumers would not take it as a CSR initiative.

It is also a classic case of how a good opportunity is lost because of wrong execution strategy. The thought of helping out Sudhir is surely a good marketing idea, and a social idea. There is nothing wrong about being opportunistic to build business and profitability. But it has to be executed well.

The flaws of this campaign are as follows:
  1. An initiative like this should not be taken to the mass media in the manner that Reliance did. More so, if the initiative was a CSR initiative. The disclaimer added salt to the wounds. Instead, it should have been a PR campaign with a local activation strategy. The media would have brought the initiative to the various mass media.
  2. The campaign is not clear about what Reliance is actually doing for Sudhir. The campaign says, "As a part of CSR, Reliance Life Insurance is providing financial aid to Sudhir". If Reliance had taken up a few conclusive steps for the family of Sudhir, and informed us about the same through a PR and social media campaign, media then would have taken the message to the consumers through TV, Radio and Newspapers.
  3. The campaign is asking consumers to join them in supporting Sudhir by texting 'SUDHIR' to a short code, by liking the company's Facebook page and by using the hashtag #greatestfan and following the company's Twitter account. But the motivation or rationale behind the same is missing. For example, Reliance could have said, "every 'life' or an 'SMS' has a value of 1 rupee. Each 1000 likes, Reliance Life Insurance will give Sudhir an insurance worth Rs. 1000/- as premium.
  4. The campaign is just featuring Sudhir. It may not be a flaw, but India sure has many crazy cricket fanatics like Sudhir. The campaign could have been inclusive. The campaign idea could have taken all cricket fanatics as the target audience, with Sudhir being their mascot (or ambassador). An offer could have been weaved around the same. It would have been an honest attempt to support Sudhir and Cricket.
I have always believed that communication strategy and creative strategy have to be honest. And that there are ways to communicate any damn thing on earth without appearing dishonest.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments will only make this blog richer in wisdom. Do drop a line even if it is just to say 'Good Post' :D