Leo Burnett fuses horror, comedy and PSA-tropes in agent recruitment ad for AIA Malaysia

A new commercial from Leo Burnett for insurance firm AIA Malaysia called ‘The 700 Day Itch’ features an unlikely mix of zombified office goers, public service advertising type calls to action and humour.

According to the ad, staying past 700 days at a job is an ‘illness’ which leads to unenthused, undervalued employees. The commercial is an attempt to jolt people in such a situation into quitting and signing up at the AIA Elite Academy that trains agents.

Speaking about the approach, Leo Burnett Malaysia executive creative director Iska Hashim said: “The team worked extensively alongside AIA to identify insights that we could use in the campaign.

“We interviewed AIA agents who moved from other career paths. So 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.”

AIA Malaysia chief marketing officer Heng Zee Wang added: “The AIA Elite Academy programme is the first of its kind in the industry.

“It’s an exclusive on-boarding programme equipping our life planners with the necessary skills to excel in their profession. We wanted an equally groundbreaking campaign to publicise it.”

The concept was developed by copywriter Pia Dhaliwal and senior art director Lee Shyyi after speaking to multiple graduates of the Elite Academy’s pilot programme. Shyyi said: “AIA took a real risk with this concept, but because it was based on a solid insight, they really encouraged us to go wild with the execution.”.



Chief marketing officer: Heng Zee Wang

Associate brand director: Chan Ming Yen

Brand manager: Choy May Yee

Leo Burnett

Executive creative director: Iska Hashim

Group account director: Coco Carreon

Copywriter: Pia Dhaliwal

Senior art director: Lee Shyyi

Project manager: Zahirah Hussin

Agency producer: Jennafinz Goonting

Production house: Societe Films

Director: Eric Yap

Executive producer: Joanne Smith

Producer: Kwan Shan Shui

First assistant director: Lester Lee

Cinematographer: Loh Yik Sing

Post-production: Meccanica Efx

Music: Real Time Studios


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