Leo Burnett recently executed a #Memoriesforlife digital platform for HDFC Life. Ogilvy & Mather has raised an issue that the idea has been borrowed from their Future Generali campaign done in 2011-12. Let’s hear from the two agencies
Aanchal Kohli | Mumbai | February 26, 2016
Advertising is all about creating differentiation and innovation for a brand. Every agency works hard to get the insight right when making a commercial that stands out and makes a brand stay ahead of the curve. And agencies are very possessive of their respective ideas.
Recently, HDFC Life Insurance came up with an interesting digital platform - #Memoriesforlife - which allows the man of the house to record little anecdotes, words of wisdom and life lessons so that he continues to guide his loved ones even when he is gone. The campaign was created by Leo Burnett India.
Just when the campaign was gaining traction and widely reviewed, Ogilvy & Mather has put the spanner in the works by pointing out that they had used a similar idea for their client Future Generali way back in 2011-12.
Now, that is bad news just when the industry is warming up for Goafest and the Abbys. Scams and plagiarism have buffeted the Abbys for quite some years now, to the extent some leading agencies have shied away from participating in the Abby Awards. Is Ogilvy making a point here?
If one sees the two campaigns, Future Generali’s campaign draws a sentimental chord with its customers to sell its online insurance term offering – Future Generali Smart Life – that is available at half the premium of regular insurance policies. As part of the campaign, the insurance policyholder is asked to leave a recorded video message for his or her loved ones while buying the policy online. At the time of the claim, the nominee will not only get the amount the holder was covered for, but also an unexpected pre-recorded goodbye video message from the policy buyer.
HDFC Life’s #Memoriesforlife is a digital platform that allows customers to leave behind more than just money. It allows them to record little anecdotes, words of wisdom and life lessons so that he continues to guide his loved ones in his absence.
Sukesh Kumar Nayak, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy India, said, “It is all about originality and the advertising industry thrives on creating original content for their clients/brands. We did it in 2011-12 and the discussion is all about originality of idea, there is nothing new in it as it is been done long back for another insurance company.”
Nayak further said, “We take great pride in the work that we create for our clients. A lot of hard work was put in by the team at Future Generali and Ogilvy to make that path-breaking digital idea happen way back in 2011. A much smaller insurance company, back then in 2011, had the courage to do something far more original than anybody else when digital was not so in line. Hence the person who did it deserves the credit. One cannot take away the credit. In fact, we spent almost a year figuring out the technicalities. The links from 2011-2012 of the media coverage for the online campaign are quite self-explanatory.”
Having taken cognizance of what Ogilvy had to say, we spoke to HDFC Life and Leo Burnett. Had they plagiarised the idea?
A statement on this issue from Leo Burrnet India said, “We cannot compare a small online video with an always-on platform. It has taken us nine months to build the platform. Our objective is for people to leave behind a lot more than money and we enable that through our 'Memories for life' platform. Using our platform people can actually leave messages behind, which will be delivered to their loved ones on a date pre-decided by them. We are not aware of any brand which has created this platform. Comparing this video – which even a Google search does not reveal – with a massive platform built by HDFC Life and Leo Burnett is frankly a joke! This is like comparing a 'Nike +' platform with an internal AV done on a community of runners. Also, we don't understand how you can have an internet video which is nowhere on the internet.”
Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive VP, Marketing, Product, Digital and E-Commerce, HDFC Life, said, “What we did and what they did is completely different! It is like comparing two brands that might be similar. The video is not available on any of the digital platforms. After witnessing the success of our campaign last year, we just extended the thought this year. And this time it is a much bigger platform as it enables people to leave messages which often remain unsaid but can go a long way in shaping their family’s future.”
Tripathi goes on to add, “I cannot comment on the similarity of our campaign with that particular video as we have not seen that video prior to this accusation, and it doesn't seem to be available on any public forum. It must have been a targeted communication for one of their products and the process of recording is not mentioned anywhere, and currently not available anywhere in their website. Nobody I know seems to be aware of this video.”
Talking about the scale of the HDFC Life platform, Tripathi explained, “The platform that we have created is open to not just our customers but everyone to leave behind a legacy of messages. One can store the messages for ten years and create as many messages as one wants. Interestingly, one can also schedule whenever one wants it to be delivered – to as many as four people. This is in line with our brand philosophy of ‘Sar Utha ke Jiyo’, wherein we believe in enabling people to lead a life of pride and self-reliance. I would just like to say that #Memoriesforlife is a very big platform. It is here to say forever.”
HDFC Life Insurance: