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Sanlam / WhatsApp Soap Opera

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world

A South African financial services company created a drama show for WhatsApp to sell funeral insurance

Sanlam, a South African financial services group, released a soap opera on WhatsApp to promote its funeral cover.

The show, called Uk’shona Kwelanga, was the brainchild of Cape Town agency King James. A successful South African screenwriter, Bongi Ndaba, was drafted in to write the script, about a family planning the funeral of its recently deceased patriarch.

People who subscribe to the video receive a series of text, voice and video messages over seven days as the drama of this family’s funeral planning unfolds in real time. Local actors the read voice messages and appeared in the multi-media posts. The seven-day period was chosen because it is the usual length of time it takes to plan a funeral.

Sanlam promoted the show, which was released in early June and is available until mid-July, with billboards, social media ads and an online video.

According to the agency, 9000 people have subscribed to the Uk’shona Kwelanga channel, and media coverage about the show has reached more than 30 million people.

 

Contagious Insight / 

Old story, new medium/ Sanlam wanted to encourage more people in South Africa to consider funeral cover, and to think of its brand when they do. Selling insurance of any kind usually entails asking people to think about unpleasant events that could lurk on the horizon; making a dull financial product seem interesting usually requires a degree scaremongering.

Uk’shona Kwelanga uses entertainment to engross people in the lives of a family struggling in the wake of a death, and get its message about funeral cover across that way, with empathy, instead of preying directly on people’s fears about their own future.

South Africa is described as a mobile-first country and the popularity of WhatsApp means it is a good way to reach a large number of potential customers. The immediate and immersive nature of the messaging app makes it ideal for telling stories in real-time over a sustained period, and the novelty of a professional and well-thought out production on the platform should add to its impact.

 

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world. I/O helps anyone in the world of marketing understand why brands are innovating, how they're doing it and with what success.

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