Hear ye! 700-day itch sufferers

14 Jun 2019 / 11:12 H.

AIA Malaysia recently launched a new agent recruitment campaign. The intriguing creative idea behind the concept was conceived in collaboration with Leo Burnett Malaysia. Unlike any other, the recruitment campaign taps into the psyche of skilled professionals, identifying with those experiencing stagnation in their current roles and offers a glimpse of hope in building a career with AIA.

Far from the typical recruitment campaign - it centres on the concept of an “illness”, that if left untended, can transform people into zombies or monsters.

The concept of the agent recruitment campaign was made to resemble a public-service-announcement and launched as a film with an opening straight out of a horror movie. It shows a lab-suited scientist who alerts the viewer about a new “disease” sweeping the nation - the 700-Day Itch - and its symptoms of “a feeling of restlessness that sets in 700 days after one proceeds into their job”. The film then depicts how talented people are reduced to horror-movie versions of their former selves, similar to real-life scenarios where employees feel unfulfilled, unappreciated or undervalued in their existing positions at work.

We won’t let the cat out of the bag where the film is concerned, instead, we urge readers to view the extraordinary and remarkable creative piece of work that offers sufferers of the 700-Day Itch the cure in AIA’s Elite Academy.

Said Leo Burnett Malaysia’s executive creative director Iska Hashim, whose team worked extensively alongside AIA on the campaign: “We interviewed AIA agents, better known as Life Planners, who moved to AIA from other career paths. Even though the scenarios in the launch film are heightened –zombies, monsters, etc – to grab attention, they stem from very real feelings that qualified people face when they’re dissatisfied with their jobs.”

For AIA, attracting such individuals was the objective, especially top-tier talent befitting its equally top-tier Elite Academy.

“The AIA Elite Academy programme is the first of its kind in the industry,” said AIA Malaysia CMO, Heng Zee Wang. The programme was newly formed this year after a pilot version was tested out in 2018. “It’s an exclusive on-boarding programme that equips new Life Planners with the necessary skills to excel in their profession; the reason we wanted an equally groundbreaking campaign to publicise it,” Heng added.

Credits for the campaign go to Leo Burnett copywriter Pia Dhaliwal and its senior art director Lee Shyyi, both who developed the concept of the 700-Day Itch after speaking with multiple graduates of the Elite Academy’s pilot programme. Though created with the AIA Elite Academy in mind, Dhaliwal shares that the film also carries a broader insight which a lot of people can relate to. Added Lee, “Because it was based on a solid insight, AIA really encouraged us to go wild with the execution.”

Special mention also goes to Societe Film’s Eric Yap and his team who Heng says, “took the concept to a whole new level and created something truly special with this film. It’s bold and irreverent, yet still embodies the traits of the Elite Academy: purpose, professionalism, and progress.”

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