Why did Future Generali decide to launch a health insurance plan for dogs?

A chat with CMO Ruchika Varma in the wake of the insurance company’s ongoing digital-first campaign for this intriguing product.

Dogs are no longer human beings’ best friends. They have gone on to become one of the if not the most important being in their lives and seeing them in pain is unbearable. But, what can you do when being mischievous happens to be in their nature and the unfortunate side-effect of it are wounds and injuries.

That is where Future Generali India Insurance (FGII) wants to enter the picture. The insurance company, founded in 2000, has launched a new health insurance policy for dogs. It will compete with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, The New India Assurance Company, and Oriental Insurance in this segment.

“India is the largest growing pet market in the world with 85 per cent of total market dominated by dogs…. For us, the current size and the potential of this segment are so strong that we were very keen to present a comprehensive health protection solution for the segment,” says Ruchika Varma, chief marketing officer, Future Generali (FGII).

To set the ball rolling for this campaign, the insurance company first made Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma tweet stuff that simply wasn’t him. “… people thought his account was hacked, they created memes, it was picked up by publications, it trended on Twitter that day,” remarks Varma and says all this was designed to let Sharma reveal his dog had taken over his Twitter account.

The ‘naughty dogs’ plays the protagonist in Future Generali’s first ad film for its dog health insurance cover. Made by Mullen Lintas, it shows us dogs at their mischievous best and also how it leads to injuries… Future Generali’s doggo health cover is touted as the best friend a pet parent can ask for their furry buddies.

“To be relatable and sharply land the need for insurance for your furry babies was the only lookout. Cute dogs being silly with a catchy track was a fit for this film. The challenge was to shoot these situations such that it doesn’t harm or pose any threat to the 14 dogs on set, involving immense preplanning and many cheats on post. The campaign hashtag OH MY DOG, is a memorable hook to witnessing a dog land in trouble, without any intention to of course,” said Garima Khandelwal, chief creative officer, Mullen Lintas, in a press release for this ‘Oh My Dog’ campaign .

“Insurance has traditionally been a push product but for a niche category like health insurance for dogs, it is extremely important to create a pull,” remarks Varma and says Future Generali had a three-fold objective for the campaign.

One, it wanted to create awareness for the category. Second, it wanted to do it in an innovative manner that is relatable to pet parents and incites them to take action. Third, it wanted to execute the campaign in a positive and palatable manner.

”At the time of conceptualization, our idea was to create an emotional connect with the viewer by leveraging mischievous yet relatable experiences that every pet parent faces at some point, and these are situations they dread, and it was this thought that gave us the campaign line of ‘Oh My God’,” reveals the chief marketing officer.

Pet parents are a niche category and targeting them with relevant communication is a task. What’s Future Generali’s strategy here? Responds Varma, “… through a sharply targeted multi-channel digital strategy which covers aspects such as social media, contextual advertising through native and programmatic campaigns.”

The brand will have a presence on online pet supply stores and it is looking at “geofencing plans – if somebody goes to a pet salon or a vet, Future Generali targets the audience through such plans… looking to amplify the campaign through the entire pet ecosystem , which means through pet trainers, vets, and also canine influencers.”

The initial aim of any brand behind a new product is to generate awareness. What happens once it is done? In insurance, companies focus on a specific feature of a plan, will Future Generali’s dog health insurance follow the same route? “Once, we’ve created a certain level of awareness, We are going to dive into specific feature-led communication,” responds Varma and says they will promote these features “through a highly targeted marketing plan that covers not only digital but also pet ecosystems and canine influencers.”

Will this marketing plan also cover the Indian Premier League, on TV or OTT, because the league’s massive reach can sometimes prove a goldmine in awareness and consideration among consumers? “While IPL is a great platform to reach masses, for this particular product, our priority is to reach a more tailored segment of pet parents and users than the masses. Therefore IPL is not part of our media plan,” came the reply.

Please note, the health plan doesn’t come with tax breaks so if you are worried about your pet dog’s health, go for it, and not think about the money you can save.


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