Case Study: AIA Real Life Never Stops

Category: Insurance

Brand custodian: Michael Ip, group head of brand and marketing at AIA.

The problem: As an Asia Pacific brand, the insurance giant faced a problem of having an oversize market which lacked a consistent regional focus.

Michael Ip describes AIA as a sophisticated brand, but says it was losing focus trying to serve 17 markets with across the region.

"What we need is a cohesive platform to strengthen our brand as a whole. And the campaign is a remedy," Ip said.

The strategy

Step oneLay the foundations for the brand value

"In brand marketing, the first thing to do is to understand the brand values from internal in order to build up a solid base to support your message delivered in the campaign. Before launching the AIA campaign we have done a lot of research on customer behaviour and their preference. It helps us have a clear vision of how to correctly position our brand to resonate with consumers."

In order to unify the brand's value and execution, the company uses an emotionally human touch as its core value to communicate its new positioning.

"The campaign highlights our deep understanding of our customer's lives and most importantly, delivers a message that when life goes wrong, we walk with them side by side."

He adds the brand's commitment to genuinely engage in its customer's lives enriches the brand identity of being honest and authentic. This is a powerful tactic especially for insurance companies, which tend to suffer from a rather negative image conveyed by the industry.

Step two: Find the right execution

"After setting the direction, the next step is to target the right platform to deliver the message. As an integrated campaign spanning TV, print, OOH, digital and social media, Ip said social media play the biggest part in consumer communication and inaction, whereas other activation take up the responsibility to raise awareness.

Step threeMake good on the promise

"It would be an empty pledge without actions." The company has launched a new product alongside the campaign titled "Cheerful Life", an investment-linked assurance scheme allowing customers to decide on the amount of life insurance coverage and to adjust their investment.

Also ride on the campaign is another new proposition - AIA Vitality - launched in Singapore, a reward programme which aims to encourage healthy living habits.

"The flexibility and the healthy motivation added in the two latest products embody our commitment to engage with our customers in an encouraging way."

To further embody its real-life pledge, the wedding couple in the campaign's ad visual in the Hong Kong version was presented by an engaged couple in real life; another visual featuring a lovely girl doing homework was also a familiar scene to the residents nearby the store.

He added that the idea of using "real-life model" will also adapt to the future commercials.

Step four: Localisation

The campaign covers all the markets and is most recently launching in China this week. Though the overall objective of the campaign is to build a congruent brand for the Asia Pacific Group, cultural relevance remains crucial.

"Based on the same template, we allow freedom for localisation in each market. In the Korea market, for instance, requires only Korean models for the commercials; in Malaysia, the wedding gown in main visual is a Malaysian costume."

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The campaign has wrapped up with over 7,100 submissions from users sharing their ‘real life’ images on Instagram in eight weeks, over ten times the original target.

Both on Instagram and Facebook, the content triggered 3million total reach, over 232,000 total ‘likes’, and over 18,700 comments with 95% positive sentiment.

During the campaign, the number of fans on AIA Hong Kong’s Facebook page tripled to 11,626, comparing to its close competitor’s 8,378 (as of 12th September, 2013). (Data source: Instagram and Facebook)

"The reason people are interested in the campaign is because the content strongly resonates with consumers' daily life and cater to their inculcation to share their life on social media."

Outlook "As many other branding campaigns, we have several phases and we are on the very beginning stage, which is to build awareness on our new positioning and have a brief introduction of the campaign to public."

Next stage, Ip said, will be to educate the brand value more deeply to the public and it will be next year's key direction riding on this campaign.

To date, AIA Group operates in 17 markets in Asia Pacific including Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, Sri Lanka, India and Myanmar.


Campaign: Real Life Never Stops

Client: Paul Groves, executive vice president and group chief marketing officer, Michael Ip, group head of brand and marketing, Michael Woo, senior manager, group brand and marketing.

Creative: TBWA\ Hong Kong

Managing director: Joanne Lao

Co president and head of creative TBWA\ Greater China: Edmund Choe

Creative director: Rupert Taylor

Art directors: Rupert Taylor, Ken Hui, Chika Tsang, Bowie Ho

Writer: Rupert Taylor

Chinese writers: Esther Wong, Mike Wu

Account team: Pauline Wong, Kathy Wong, Latona Lai, Winnie Yuen, Karen Chung, Athena Chiu

Digital / social account team: Jocelyn Liipfert, Maria Mei, Kenard Chui

Planning: Robin Nayak, Terence Ling

Agency digital producer: Denny Wong, Kirsten Zeng

Agency TV producer: Norah Sham, Ann Wong

Agency print producer: Pat Mak, Hang Wong

Director: Laurent Chanez (Identity)

TV producer: Keeley Gould (Identity)

DOP: Steve Annis

Editor: Stewart Reeves (Rock Paper Scissors)

Photographer: Magdalena Wosinska (Artifex Productions)

Photography producer: Lavanya Radhakrishnan (Artifex Productions)