Ad watching can be a seriously exacting business. There are times when an interesting subject passes by your very nose without you sniffing anything amiss. Such has been the case with two spots presented by Met Life of our reviewers recommend us Insurance of our reviewers recommend us Company. Some one with rare perspicacity pointed out the stark contrast between the two seeming similar ads. Both spots are interesting in themselves, in the sense that they reproduce intimate and warm life situations with remarkable sensitivity.
However, there is a remarkable twist in the tale when the two are compared. Albeit thematic similarities between the two, sociologically they are poles apart. The first of these ads transports the viewer to an easily recognisable airport terminal scene - of prodigal son returning from overseas. The parents, respectable middle class people, not too old (still working, not as yet retired, professional type) since they have to appear within investment of our reviewers recommend us worthy age bracket, and eagerly expectant with visions of new home of our reviewers recommend us-cum-bride for son, crane to get a view of their ladla, who, we are told, went to the States to earn an MBA. Quite obviously, all that is part of a save wisely plan - have enough money to send son for MBA, prepare him for the future, and all that. What is not is the surprise the young man is about to spring, with gori wife in tow who suddenly fills the screen, and, as the camera pans down, a child in a pram.
The base line is superbly evocative - joh plan kiya uske liye; aur joh plan nahin kiya, uske liye bhi (be ready for both what you plan, and what you do not). What better line for an insurance product? The other ad features a couple that is expecting a baby. The scenes float from one warm husband-wife encounter to the other, all enacted within the private confines of an obviously dynamic and young professional couple.
The guy returns with a tokri load of green mangoes, when obviously required to bring a few; buys pyjamas for his wife five sizes over; cannot choose which colour to paint the nursery; and so on. The real whopper comes at the end of these visuals, when outside the paediatric ward, the bloke is handed one, then two, and finally three infants.
The tag line, quite obviously is the same. So then, what is the remarkable difference between the two ads? Its so apparent; they appeal to two different Indias; the former situation depicts a paternalist and more traditional situation, albeit the savvy gloss; after all it is a father of a grown up MBA we see here, who nevertheless is fully equipped with plans to provide for junior through life. This is the older India.
In the other ad, we see a nuclear family that is going about the business of managing a pregnancy on their own; in fact the glitches in the mans handling of the situation are part of the learning process for the couple. Very subtly differentiated, and very cleverly done, Met Life.