Debrief: Birla Sun Life: Topicality enhances efficacy

02 Feb,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Last year, Birla Sun Life ran a TV campaign where some cricketers expressed their career insecurities. I recall reviewing that work, and had quite liked it. Mainly because of the message extension: If loaded cricketers can worry about their future, we middle class wallahs should be alarmed. This was also the first campaign in India where celebs spoke like ordinary citizens. Some people will recall Yuvraj Singh’s famous words: “Jab tak balla chal raha hai, thaath hai. Jab balla nahin chalega toh….”


Well, Birla Sun Life is back with Yuvi. And this time the idea works even better because soon after the World Cup win, our hunky batsman was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour. This meant he was left out of the team. (Though the up-side is that Yuvi must be secretly thankful for not being a part of the team that’s been badly humiliated in recent times.) In the commercial, the cricketer once again expresses apprehensions over an uncertain future and the need for insurance. And he also alludes to his sickness.


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Well, the idea worked earlier, and it works now. The only question is this: Is it completely ethical for the marketer to ride on a player’s rather serious illness? And, is it correct for the player to play along with this idea? Is it the case of being opportunistic? To be honest, there are no easy answers to this one. I would only say that Birla Sun Life has played a clever card out here. And since Yuvi didn’t mind the marketing ploy, that should be fine, I guess.


Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 3. Clever use of human tragedy.


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