Bajaj Allianz’s ongoing love for plank

From #36SecPlankChallenge to #PlankForIndia, Bajaj Allianz Life is transforming the way it does advertising

Anil Kapoor bajaj allianz life

I grew up in a small town in Haldia, WestBengal. Located on the banks of the Haldi river, the industrial town had one decent and two shady theaters. Affording a 10 rupees movie ticket was a big ask and then you also had your gang. You can’t leave them.

Doordarshan would rarely show new Bollywood films so for us living in the Railway colony the only movie entertainment was during the festivals. Be it Durga/Saraswati/Ganesh Puja the committee would organize movie nights. These were the days of video cassette recorders. Movies would start from 9 in the night so that every one after their dinner could sit in open ground and enjoy the latest movies on 20-inch old color television, along with mosquitos.

During one such cold movie night, I met Anil Kapoor virtually on a hazy Weston TV when he was standing on top of a Mumbai local train. A 15-year-old thought that’s how a macho young man should be. The movie was Tezaab, for which Anil Kapoor won the best actor award. Looking back I am confident if Bollywood did well to people then at the same time it spoiled generations imparting crap about the relationship, sex, and love.

But later in my life, I saw his other movies like Woh Saat DinMeri Jung, and my favorite Basu Chatterjee’s Chameli Ki Shaadi. These movies opened up the acting dynamite Anil has been for the last 40 years. At 63, he is going to be seen in an upcoming multi starrer movie Malang. Over the years one thing that has been consistent about this young man is the massive energy that he brings on the screen and the impact he leaves.

There is one more thing that has been consistent - his physique and looks. At 63 he can give all youngsters run for their money in looks and physical fitness. If you follow him on Instagram you would know his fitness mantra. His sprint video posted last year, thanking his wife Sunita on Karva Chauth was inspiring and couple goals viral video.


On 10th January, Anil posted a social media update doing a plank. Wearing a black hat, aviators and a black training outfit Anil was strong and inspiring doing the plank.

However, the plank post in association with brand Bajaj Allianz for #PlankForIndia challenge. Anil invited his fans to participate by performing plank and highlighted that for every plank one performs, Bajaj Allianz Life will contribute to the development of India’s future sports stars.

With Bollywood embarking the movement, the next job was to get the Indian athletes to join the challenge. From The Great Khali to Mary Kom to Dutee Chand everyone joined the plank challenge, endorsing the brand’s commitment to this movement and asked fans to post their plank photo or video on social media.

To show the brand’s seriousness for the challenge, Bajaj got its leadership team to take up the #PlankforIndia challenge. The brand posted a video showing how physically strong the leadership team is. However, we don’t know how long they did the plank.

Additionally, the brand launched an impactful video where it gave a glimpse of what it meant by supporting deserving India’s future sports stars. For instance, meet Tunglam Devi - the pocket size dynamite who runs 100mts in 12 seconds and with new shoes she promises to do in 10 seconds.

From digital, the brand took it offline on Republic Day and created a new Guinness World Record with 2471 people doing planks at Mumbai’s MMRDA ground. The new record created broke the earlier record created during the same event hosted in Pune, Maharashtra in 2019. The earlier record witnessed 2,353 people together holding the abdominal plank position for a minute (60 seconds).

Planking is one of the easiest and the toughest exercises. The longer you hold your position the stronger you are. Also known as the front hold, hover or abdominal bridge is done to strengthen the abdominals, back and shoulders. The Guinness World Record for the longest duration of a front plank is 8 hours and 1 minute (I can barely survive for 2 minutes).


The association of the life insurer company with plank developed in 2018 when it had launched #36SecPlankChallenge. The campaign was launched right after the brand had launched Bajaj Allianz Life Health Care Goal, a critical-illness product covering 36 critical illnesses.

The campaign video saw people performing perfect planks creating the buzz why are so many people doing planks all of a sudden. The answer was to motivate people to opt for a healthy lifestyle and healthcare. In its inaugural edition, the brand asked people to take up the challenge by holding it for 36 seconds, tag and ask friends to take up the challenge.

In return for every video posted on social media the brand promised to contribute monetarily to the Hrudaya - Cure a Little Heart Foundation (Hrudaya Foundation), a Hyderabad-based healthcare organisation dedicated to curing heart disorders in disadvantaged children.

Ace Indian badminton professional Saina Nehwal was the first one to associate herself with the campaign. She started the chain of tagging people from the sports fraternity to carry forward the plank challenge.

Like this year the inaugural campaign ended on Republic Day when 2353 people did an abdominal plank for a minute.

Plank movement transforming brand advertising

Associating with a community-driven movement to sell a business incentive is definitely a thought-through move from Bajaj Allianz Life. In the first year, it was about promoting the Health Care Goal program and in the second edition, the campaign has evolved with a larger vision of encouraging more and more people to keep themselves fit for achieving their health and life goals.

Chandramohan Mehra, chief marketing officer, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, said, “We believe that sustained good health is essential to achieve life goals. Through #PlankforIndia initiative, we want to encourage everyone to pursue good health, and support a good cause of helping India’s emerging sports stars get their life goals done.”

Definitely, the second edition of the campaign has been well crafted and executed. It is no longer talking about a product but encouraging everyone to pursue good health. Because India needs to be healthy and fit.

Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, thyroid, and cholesterol are on the rise, according to a new report by preventive healthcare app GOQii. Based on the findings of 5 million users and across 16 cities, the latest report found out that 62% of people are unhealthy.

And when it comes to having health insurance we as a nation severely fall behind. Only about 10% of the poorest one-fifth of Indians in rural (10.2%) and urban India (9.8%) had any form of private or government health insurance, show data from India’s largest national survey on social consumption, conducted between July 2017 and June 2018.

But the new growing India wants to be fit and good looking, thanks to social networking sites. The good side is that we are taking health seriously beyond the new year resolution and talking about eating healthy. Bajaj Allianz Life wants to tap this conversation and it understands well that only talking wouldn’t get attention from the audience hence support their thoughts to gain consideration.

Thus you don’t find the brand talking about any product but endorsing fitness and also doing its part.

But there are missing links

The brand’s belief is strong for the campaign and it has evolved the brand’s advertising. Like we have earlier seen with Colgate Palmolive India.

However, there are two major gaps(plus 2 additional ideas from my side):

  1. In both the editions, the brand has associated the challenge campaign with a cause which is a smart move. But nowhere has it mentioned or highlighted about the financials. For instance, in this second version, it has just said that it will support talented young Indians who need support. What will be the selection criteria, who will select it and finally how much funds will the brand shell out. I am sure the brand has a budget in mind, so why not specify it clearly from day one. Cause campaigns bring more participation and appreciation when it brings more transparency. 
  2. And this brings to the second problem. The brand has highlighted the campaign with a video on the website. Not bad but why not connect with a dedicated site. This not only showcases the evolved vision of the brand but also brings more transparency by listing every small detail about the campaign on the website. Right now the entire digital campaign sits on social media but they are momentary. If the brand is serious, I think it should invest in developing a portal associating with the main site and showcase to the world.
  3. Next year the brand should create a pepped up music so that users can associate it with the plank video. I am sure next year it will use TikTok as a channel and the original music will come handy.
  4. Finally, the brand should build a small pool of brand advocates that will do the talking for the brand on social media (brand advocates are different from influencers.)

I have said this earlier and I will keep saying it - Brands need to think like a publisher if they want to be thought leaders in their category.

Read: Why brands need to think like publishers

Bajaj Allianz Life’s love for plank is on the right path it just needs to fill the missing gaps before its third version.