Manulife SG drums up awareness on 'silent killer' amongst women

Manulife Singapore has rolled out a new critical illness campaign spotlighting the issue of heart disease among women aged 40 to 70 years old. According to the Manulife heart health survey conducted last year, majority of female respondents believe that cancers are the top leading cause of death. However, Manulife found that there is another silent killer out there - heart disease. According to Manulife, one in three women will die because of it but less than 10% know of this fact.

The campaign features breast cancer survivors who are also heart health advocates. Done in collaboration with TBWA\ Singapore, the video shows the effects that breast cancer has wrought on the women - mastectomies and scarring, for example. At the same time, the survivors also share the hard truth about a disease that impacts more women than any other. According to Manulife, the video aims to shed light on the misconception that "bikini cancers" - ovarian and breast cancers - are the only diseases women should prioritise to protect against. One reason why this misconception exists is because heart disease is not as equally represented as bikini cancers by the media.

The digital campaign will run until 31 August. On a broader level, Manulife's latest campaign wants to raise awareness about its Critical SelectCare plan. Unlike traditional plans that involve plenty of paper work, its Critical SelectCare only has three questions that can be answered online with no medical check-ups. The digital plan aims to debunk the myth that purchasing a protection plan after 40 years old can be difficult.

Besides the misconception about bikini cancers and heart disease, Manulife said that women between the ages of 40 to 70 years old tend to have higher life expectancy compared to men. Quoting insights from sources such as the Singapore Department of Statistics and The Business Times, Cheryl Lim, VP, head of brand, marketing communications and sponsorship told Marketing in a conversation that older women often end up paying more for health insurance in the long run as a result of their higher life expectancy. They also to regret leaving financial decisions to their spouses when they were younger.

Compared to its past campaigns such as #Unbroken, Lim explained that the team kept the video simple as it wanted to be more factual yet optimistic and hopeful. Instead of fear mongering, especially in a sensitive climate such as today's, Lim said there was no better way to get the message across about heart disease with survivors from all races in Singapore. 

"We want to be authentic and real in the time of COVID-19 where health and wellness protection is even more crucial. When it comes to serious topics, it is important to be meaningful instead of using fear-mongering," Lim told Marketing. In line with the video being authentic and factual, Lim said the team wanted the survivors to showcase their natural beauty and as such, little make up was used on them. 

"We wanted to emulate their natural beauty, and this is important because of the need for authenticity and the survivors also need to believe in what they say," she added. According to Lim, the company plans to roll out the campaign in two phases to effectively target women. Phase one will run for eight weeks, primarily target women via the main video to drive awareness and consideration. Those who watched but did not complete the full video will be retargeted with a video featuring the USPs of Critical SelectCare.

Phase two runs from weeks five to eight and also involves men. Likewise, the same main video will be used to drive both awareness and consideration among women and men, as well as social ads on Facebook. For men in particular, the social ads will bring across the message that the best way to show their appreciation for the important women in their lives is by taking charge of their own health. This is to spur them to purchase the plan. During the same period, there will also be a social contest for men to get them involved in the education movement, with selected winners bagging a Fitbit Charge 3 each week. This is not the first time Manulife has addressed the issue of heart disease. Last March, it released the "Stop the drama" campaign debunking a global stereotype seen on screens that depicts dramatic heart attacks scenes such as falling to the ground, clutching one's heart, and winching in agony.

While Lim declined to reveal the budget set aside for the campaign and the exact ROI it expects to receive, she said that the team aims to see an ROI of 200% of what they spent. When asked how the team decides on the budget required for the campaign, she explained that it works backwards by figuring out the number of sales the company wants to achieve, followed by the number of leads it needs to acquire, as well as how they can optimise the various channels it uses - Facebook, Google and WeChat - to bring in the various leads it needs. "We also base our calculations on learnings from past campaigns in a bid to become more cost effective and relevant," Lim added.

That said, Manulife's marketing budget has also been impacted by the recent pandemic. According to Lim, the team had to watch its purse strings and reduce its original marketing budget by about 30% to 40%. Despite the reduction in budget, Lim said it wanted to retain the momentum and continue marketing instead of going quiet. 

"We aspire to have a home run moving forward. The next five months will be exciting in terms of the way we remain relevant by ensuring that our marketing reflects and sentiment and tonality of the current environment and context," Lim said, decline to reveal specifics of Manulife's marketing strategy moving forward.

Additionally, Lim is of the view that even when the economy and companies recover, marketers should not go back fully to where they were in terms of their strategies, even if they have more budget. "The pandemic caused us to have our backs against the wall and we had to reinvent. Therefore, we are at our optimal. If things return to normal, there is no need to revert to our old strategies. Instead, we should continue operating at our optimal level to hit all our KPIs and ensure that there is no wastage," Lim explained.

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