Making critical illness coverage a priority for Singaporeans


This post is sponsored by Manulife.

In Singapore, Manulife’s Critical Illness (CI) insurance plans cover 106 different conditions and illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, and stroke, across all stages. A CI plan assures people against the financial outlay of treatment and loss of income, helping them to avoid being a burden on their families and being unproductive indefinitely.

Yet there is an alarming 80% protection gap for critical illness in the country. What’s more, four in five people have had trouble paying for treatment costs, with one in three using up all, or most of their savings, on medical treatments.

The challenge

In partnership with Tribal DDB, we sought to solve the problem head-on. To establish itself as the go-to provider for all CI protection needs, Manulife had to drive salience in a commoditised market, improve consideration for its CI plans with specific target groups, and grow its market share in the CI category.

Insurance is a category with a lot of complexity in the buying process. But it’s also a category where emotion plays a big part in driving decisions. Leading with emotion and reaching all relevant buyers would help Manulife get an advantage over competitors who tend to advertise rational messages such as price or features.

manulife jan 1

Now, tapping into emotions to sell insurance isn’t a new approach. In fact, a majority of big-budget critical illness ATL campaigns for CI plans have overly emotional campaigns designed to tug at one’s heartstrings. Though other brands have attempted this, some have failed to resonate with people.

Tapping into the right insight, and bringing that insight to life in a truly evocative manner was going to be critical for Manulife.

The solution: Bringing insight to life and delivering emotion at scale

A deeply resonant emotional theme in Asia is the wellbeing of one’s family, even if it comes at the expense of long-term financial security. Older Singaporeans strive to do everything they can for their families when misfortune strikes. At the same time, middle-aged Singaporeans often find themselves caring for both their ageing parents and their growing children. However, neither generation can effectively look after their loved ones and their dependents if they fail to protect themselves first. With this insight, the campaign set out to demonstrate how planning for the unexpected secures the future. 

Bringing the campaign to life 

For many Singaporeans, adversity is no stranger. Older generations experienced the hardships of growing up in a developing Singapore. And the many survivors nearly crippled by critical illnesses have endured the enormous physical, mental and financial stresses resulting from their conditions. But the one thing adversity couldn’t do was break their will to fight. Manulife’s #Unbroken campaign was a dedication and a show of support to that fighting spirit in Singaporeans.

At the heart of the campaign is a 5-minute film where an unexpected twist underlines the importance of family values and a strong will to live.

The film was set to a classic Hokkien ballad – “爱拼才会赢” (Ai Pia Cia Eh Ya) – loosely translated as “you have to fight to win” – which embodies fighting in the face of adversity. The song was rescored and sung by local singing legend Wang Lei who also cared for his mother during her battle with cancer.

manulife jan 2

Scaling reach

The campaign’s target audience included Singaporeans across age groups and life stages. It was critical to amplify the campaign on channels with a greater reach over a three-month period. Hosted on the Manulife campaign microsite, the film launched on Facebook and YouTube.

It also featured on bus shelters, MRT platforms, and taxi wraps selected to achieve relevant reach on the ground. Social posts featuring the protagonist’s father, his wife, and his daughter were targeted at audiences likely to identify with each character.

Beyond awareness, lead generation ads were deployed for re-targeting on Facebook to trigger callbacks from Manulife.

The results

With 5.5 million video views, more than 56,000 engagements on social media, and nearly $350,000 in PR value, the emotion-led campaign strategy delivered a ROMI of few folds for Manulife.

The campaign received coverage in 20 media publications and interviews in four key Mandarin dailies – hitting over 270 million in combined media reach.