How these four brands are thinking different this Diwali

Diwali is almost there and brands have been busy sharing Diwali Campaigns. Majority of them have struggled to think fresh except Axis Bank, SBI Life Insurance, Bajaj Allianz Life and ICICI Lombard

Diwali Li

A few more hours and the festival weekend is on. It is Diwali time. Time for fun, celebrations, gifts, and shopping. This also means the wallet will see a nice big whole. But before spending on our loved ones do we really think? We would this year because Diwali is a week before the payday. Tough life for people like me who hardly save.

Can we have an exception this year and have our salaries in advance. Tough one but Axis Bank is making the exception for its employees so that they can have a joyful Diwali. This thoughtful gesture is the genesis Axis Bank’s Diwali Campaign #SalaryBeforeDiwali

Told in a humorous way, is a story of a youngster who wants to make his family happy with gifts this Diwali. But payday is a week away. So what should he do? Make the family unhappy or ask for an advance from the boss. The company makes an exception and pays an advance salary so that they can celebrate the way they want with their family. This year everyone who is celebrating Diwali would like to have an advance salary including the house help. The video ends on the right note.

#SalaryBeforeDiwali definitely stands out of the clutter of Diwali campaigns. 

I have watched almost all the Diwali campaigns that brands have shared so far. The majority has stuck to the same template of connecting Diwali with family, friends, real connection and so on. My quest was to find campaigns that had something fresh to offer and managed to stand out. 

So here are the remaining three brands who are connecting with their audiences in a slightly different way.

Diwali isn’t all about fun and celebrations. Firecrackers and its impact on pollution have already alarmed the officials in the country. In addition to the pollution hazard, every year Diwali also witnesses injuries caused by firecrackers. Last year in Chandigarh as many as 116 people were admitted to different city hospitals with severe eye and burn injuries(I couldn’t find an all India data for firecracker related injuries. But a simple Google search will reveal individual state stories.)

Taking this as an insight ICICI Lombard this year wants you to have a safe Diwali. Not a boring message, but an Aarti performed by the real fighters of Mumbai in their own unique style. “Shubh Deepavali Saavdhaan” has a simple message powered by an interesting execution.

India has the Child Labour(Prohibition & Regulation) Act, which prohibits employment of children under 14 years and includes fireworks and match industries. Despite the law, the NCPCR 2012 report states that children in the age group of 5 to 15 years work for more than 12 hours a day in the firecracker units, and earn a paltry sum as wages for their back-breaking work. Firecracker industry isn’t regulated and they feed on children as they are cheap and can work for long hours. 

Bajaj Allianz Life wants us to stop us from buying firecrackers with a message from one of the many children who are involved in making them. #StopUnboxingFireworks is an unboxing video of a pack of bombs done by Chintu, who tells the entire process and what he goes through to make the firecrackers. So that all of us can have a joyful Diwali.

Definitely the insight is relevant but the execution is brilliant. Rather than simply telling us to stop using crackers, the video might just shake our conscious.

The brand wants us to stop using crackers, which is fair but what is Bajaj Allianz Life doing for these kids stuck in these cracker factories. Shouldn’t that be a genuine extension to the campaign?

SBI Life Insurance’s ongoing campaign Real Life Real Stories also has the same problem. According to the brand it is showcasing inspirational real-life stories of common, yet incredible people to encourage and inspire every Indian. The latest story launched on the eve of Diwali is a story of a young man providing solar-powered lamps to women street vendors. The story has been crafted well.

For the last few years, Aakarsh Shamanur has been helping street vendors with solar lights. Last year he kick-started a crowdfunding campaign “Be Polite” in Bengaluru to give away 250 solar lights to women vendors. He is now doing the same in Chennai and the project begins with Marina beach.

The story of Aakarsh needs to be told but what is SBI Life doing beyond creating the video. Why isn’t the brand supporting the crowdfunding campaign? Telling the stories and giving reach is a half job done.

Bajaj Allianz Life and SBI Life both have great initiatives as a Diwali campaign but they are half baked.

SBI Life Real Life Real stories campaign is a year-long campaign which could easily become a brand property. The brand should focus on selecting real-life stories, run crowdfunding campaigns, drive people participation and at the same time have budgets allocated to support the initiative. I didn’t find any such extensions for both the brands on their websites. It is interesting to note that SBI Life has no mention of the ongoing campaign on its website. Time for a relook at the strategy SBI Life and Bajaj Allianz.

Today almost every brand is talking about purpose. Talking won’t suffice, brands need to act on it. Or else it would just sit on the internet as another campaign. If brands want people to associate on their campaigns/activities then they will have to be active rather than passive supporters.