Basics of conversing with GenZ: A look at FGII's Instagram strategy

Sneha Yadav
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Future Generali India Insurance

With inputs from Future Generali India Insurance and its creative partner Wondrlab, we take an in-depth look at the making of the brand’s latest campaign and their overall Instagram marketing strategy for reaching out to the younger demographic.

Future Generali India Insurance's (FGII) latest video campaign showcases how releasing strong emotions on inanimate objects are early signs of mental illness. It taps on the phenomenon of crying into the pillow when distraught or throwing things around in a fit of rage. The initiative is the second phase of their #HealthInsideOut campaign focused on creating awareness about active mental health issues that one may suffer, not realizing their effects. It also leads into the brand's larger strategy of communicating with the youth, especially through Instagram.


The Campaign Insight & Objective

Five years ago, WHO estimated that over 90 million Indians suffer from some form of mental illness and COVID-19 has only made this worse. Concerns about physical health, extended lockdowns leading to long periods of social disconnection, fear of losing jobs and increased stress due to new learning methods, working and studying have all taken a toll on us and escalated the problem.

Despite the staggering statistics, mental illness is considered taboo in India. No-one talks about it and those suffering from it typically live in denial or many times aren't even aware of their condition. Sadly, in a lot of cases, family and friends are unsupportive.

Ruchika Varma, CMO, Future Generali India Insurance shares, “As a brand whose purpose is to be a lifetime partner for the customers and lead with empathy, human touch, and innovation; we decided that it is time to propel a movement that will get Indians to take their mental health seriously. The starting point of this movement was to get people to start thinking about their mental health as consciously as they do about their physical health."

To enable this, FGII created the Total Health Score, a questionnaire & API based diagnostic tool to assess one’s physical and mental wellbeing. The brand then got multiple fitness influencers to take the score, who were shocked to realize that they did not score 100% despite being extremely physically fit.

The message - You need to be both physically and mentally healthy to be healthy inside out.

FGII’s objective for launching this campaign is four-fold:

  • De-stigmatize the issue by showing that it’s a common problem
  • Create the realization that some of these seemingly common-place symptoms could be signs of mental illness
  • Urge action by telling our audience to not ignore these underlying signs
  • Educate people that help is available, whether it is medical or financial.

As a brand that offers health insurance, FGII wanted to address some of these issues, fill market gaps, and become even more relevant to its customers.

BIG Brief

“If you see all the insurance campaigns done in the past, you will realize a startling thing, they all talk about health, but only physical health. Mental Health is nowhere in the picture. And in this day and age that cannot happen,” says Amit Akali, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Wondrlab.

The brief was to start the conversation about the importance of mental health to a nation that’s probably the most depressed country in the world (according to data).

The Idea

FGII found that the first manifestation of mental health issues is inflicted on inanimate objects during multiple conversations with mental health experts. The excessive squeezing of a stress ball, constant biting of nails or a T-shirt, the chewing of the top of a pencil or a pen cap, the constant shifting of the pillow, the throwing of things in rage – these could all be early symptoms of underlying mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, insomnia or anger.


The Making

Akali shares that for the campaign to bring to life, the starting point became, how can mental health be talked about, without the conversation being grim and at the same time inform people of the signs they should look out for?

The answer came with the insight that things around us suffer because of our mental illnesses. Because of the way we handle stress and pressure of everyday life. These things normally can’t voice out their plight.


Also Read: BFSI campaigns that marked the beginning of 2021

“So we thought, we should give them their voice. We wrote films using regular items all of us have around us and brought them to life. We gave them a voice to bring to light signs of three very different mental illnesses; Stress, rage, depression. We knew their story couldn’t be overbearing. It had to have meaning but should be wrapped in the cloak of humour. Only then would it become easy to digest for a country in denial of their mental health,” he adds.

Next, the question was, how do the teams bring these stories to life? Wondrlab worked with Esuresh, who had one of the best visions for the film. The creative team decided the best way for people to connect with these objects was to humanise them. Give them a unique character, a mouth and features so when they speak, people can relate to them and see their plight.

Taking an in-depth dive into the technical aspects, Akali highlights, “This was no ordinary objective as Suresh had definite ideas about their personifications. It couldn’t have been made into cartoons as they would become far from being believable. We had to discover those faces from the creases ( of the pillow), cracks (of the vase), and scratches/aberrations (on the stress-ball). So, It had to be stop-motion."

This meant physically creating the movements of every object by hand. The tactile feel was important for these and Suresh believes when we craft something with our hands we pass on a part of our lives into those animated objects.

The first thing the teams had to do, was to write down the personality of these objects in words, their age, their backstory, even whether they are male or female had to be determined. After this definition, they had to audition for their voices. The agency brought on board three talented theatre actors to breathe life into these objects with their voices. They had to emote like the characters who would be facing these horrors first hand from their owners.

As per the personalities, they created the individual living spaces in a studio for the films. 

Then came the last and most difficult part, the stop-motion animation. “Where Suresh and his team of magician animators manually created and shot 12 movements for every second using the stress ball, vase, and pillow. This process in itself took 3-4 weeks. 2 setups were created for simultaneous animation,” Akali informs.

Social Media Play

FGII’s objective from social media is to create brand awareness, build perception, engage audiences and garner loyalty over the long term.

“We tried to leverage Instagram through the power of celebrity influencers. We handpicked 25 influencers to promote the Total Health Score where fitness celebrities like Shilpa Shetty. Sunil Chettri, Mandira Bedi, Yasmin Karachiwala, and many others made a video for us urging people to find their Mental Health Score,” informs Varma.


The brand saw an engagement of 18%+ on these videos and received 12Mn video views on Future Generali Instagram. The videos on Twitter garnered over 11k+ tweets and 15Mn. The campaign was supported by Facebook, Google, and other platforms such as IPL.

Using these mediums, the Total Health Score campaign reached more than 100 Mn, increased visitorship to the official website by 210% and resulted in more than 40,000 mobile app downloads.

From a messaging point of view, clear and simple communication has always been FGII’s top priority.  The brand has ensured that it’s communication is completely jargon-free or does not use complex statements that the TG may not comprehend.

Varma stresses that while Twitter can drive thought leadership well, Future Generali Instagram drives brand connect. While the average age group on Twitter is a little higher, Instagram mostly consists of millennials and Gen Z audiences. They identify with visual language more than just static posts or a mundane stock image of a guy in a suit selling insurance.

“Our current campaign is very visual, young and fresh; and we believe it will appeal to the Instagram audience. Moreover, the campaign's take away is powerful and relevant, and we are already seeing it resonate with the audience,” she adds.  

While Future Generali Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube continue as key mediums, FGII sees shifts in other media consumption patterns.

There is a switch to OTT platforms, through which the brand has collectively seen an increase in viewership by 3-4 million.

Briefing about the media strategy, Varma highlights, “News is now consumed digitally, evident in the spike in visits to news sites by more than 40% and the increasing popularity of apps such as In-Shorts. We have also picked up a surge in health insurance search by 23%,  making Google even more central to our media planning. We will be present on all these digital platforms in a big way to promote our message.”

Future Generali Instagram - Creating Awareness

When asked her thoughts about how is marketing on Instagram making it easier for younger audiences to understand insurance better, Varma promptly replies, “Absolutely. The potential is enormous. A recent report from NapoleonCat indicates 137.28 million Instagram users in India in December 2020, with ages 18 to 35, forming the largest user group.”

She feels that, unfortunately, insurance as an industry is struggling to be relevant to this significantly large group of consumers. The median age of an insurance customer is 35 years and while the brand ensures it is relevant to the core TG, it is constantly striving to drive awareness and consideration for protection products amongst a younger demographic to expand the market.

“It's abundantly clear that Instagram is the right touchpoint to engage millennials, but the messaging and tonality of the communication also need to strike a chord."

"We believe we will be successful in connecting with this audience with a relevant topic like mental health, which affects this demographic as acutely as others; with messaging that is interesting & engaging and a product proposition that delivers on the promise of covering both physical and mental health,” she briefs further.

‘Mental Health’ as a Communication Theme

Future Generali wants to lead the narrative on mental health and transform this into a movement, larger than the existing campaign.

Moving ahead, it plans to roll out multiple initiatives around mental health and wellbeing, whether those are differentiated & innovative product propositions, services or partnerships to support customers.

Early on in the lockdown, FGII launched a free COVID-19 Helpline where employees could speak to a counselor and seek help from mental health experts. They also organized wellness sessions like Yoga & Zumba to keep them de-stressed and fun game sessions post work where the employees' families could also participate. Future Generali Instagram was buzzing.

As lines between personal life and work are constantly getting blurred, the organization has also been sending work-from-home tips to ensure that employees take some time off to unwind.

Making mental health and wellness a key pivot in its brand story, FGII plans to continue building conversations & driving awareness around mental health to position Future Generali as a relevant, differentiated brand focused on consumers' needs.

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