BSLI's 'How Many' ad campaign reaches Cannes

MUMBAI: In late June, a Birla Sun Life Insurance (BSLI) ad campaign made it to the Mecca of advertising awards - the Cannes film festival.

The 'How many' ad for BSLI, created by Concept Communications and produced by Steam Engine Productions, was one of the three Indian entries that made it to the Cannes Film shortlist.

Winning creatives always are a derivative of a good client brief. BSLI CEO Nani Javeri says: "The effort represents a synergistic approach to marketing and communications wherein the ad agency and the BSLI team formulate the path ahead by working closely. As far as BSLI is concerned, effective communication and social responsibility go hand in hand."

It takes an inspired adman to deliver the goods based on the brief. Concept's creative director Sanjay Sule says: "The intention was to position Birla Sun Life as a responsible and socially conscious corporate citizen - an entity that thinks beyond insurance. That's why we picked up the issue of smoking."

The ad film uses memorable visuals to make an immediate impact on the viewer. The ad starts off by showing a small room in which a man who is the head of the family is smoking. The camera also pans the other members - an 80-year old grandmother, children including a six month old baby amongst others - who are closeted into the matchbox-like tenement. The other members of the family exhale while the head of the family inhales the cigarette smoke. Very effectively, without even using any voice-over, the BSLI drives home the point that passive smoking is injurious to your family's health. The underlying element is "How many cigarettes do you smoke with your family every day?"

"The theme was so striking and hard-hitting that the BSLI team approved it in the first sitting itself. We shot the ad film in two days and the everything including the post production work was completed within 10 days. We shot with ordinary people and only the lead actor (the man of the family) and the wife are professional ad commercial artistes," says Sule.

The film was aired on premier business channels such as CNBC India. When asked whether he knew that the ad would win accolades, a modest Sule says: "I had a gut feeling that it would be appreciated. We are happy that out of the two entries sent to Cannes, one of them made waves. All credit to the team and the client for having the guts to experiment with new concepts."

The Birla Sun Life nomination is definitely raise the creative bar for Concept. "We are ready to face the challenge and are already thinking of similar concepts!" added Sule with a glint in his eyes.

The BSLI-Concept team is looking forward to win more awards for its latest innovative direct marketing ad campaign.

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