At the time of independence, there were only a few local insurance companies operating in Pakistan along with a few foreign companies; within 25 years, the number rose to 32. In 1972, under a Presidential Order, life insurance was nationalised in Pakistan. This took place in two stages. Firstly, the management of the 32 life insurance companies was taken over by the government. Secondly, a single corporation called the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan was established with three units called A, B and C. These three units are still incorporated in our logo in the form of three petals. The third unit, C, was in East Pakistan. In October 1975, the three units were merged and five zones were created (they are also part of the logo, between the three petals).
Initially, we advertised on radio and print, because the majority of our policy holders did not own a TV set then. The ‘Ae Khuda Mere Abbu’ campaign was developed in the 1980s, and showed a father-and-daughter situation; the emotional appeal of the little girl praying for her father’s life won people over and the TVC became an iconic ad.
We did a remake of the TVC in the 2000s, which showed the girl as a grown up, but it didn’t do well, because times had changed and so had the target market. Earlier, a father was the sole breadwinner; today, almost everyone in the family earns. Furthermore, earlier, the perception was that life insurance is only of benefit after death, whereas today people can use the money they have invested over 20 years time. This was the idea we tried to communicate in our Eid TVC.
Earlier, it was about a father who had to stay alive, now it is about a wise father who has invested in insurance for his children’s future. The branding of life insurance products has changed.
We have reduced our advertising on radio; our ad spend is equally divided between TV, print and digital.
Razia Dossa is Manager Corporate Communications, State Life Insurance Corporation Pakistan.
First published in THE DAWN OF ADVERTISING IN PAKISTAN (1947-2017), a Special Report published by DAWN on March 31, 2018.