Case Study: How Columbia Pacific Communities redefined gender roles through its Christmas campaign

Columbia Pacific Communities

Social Samosa takes a closer look at Columbia Pacific Communities’ campaign #MissSanta, which aimed to empower senior citizens by breaking gender stereotypes and ageist attitudes that exist in society.

Category Introduction

Senior citizens will constitute a quarter of the country’s population in the next 5 years – 350 million people, of whom 125 million stay in urban areas. At this stage of their lives, they have fulfilled their responsibilities to their children, their parents, to their careers and to society and nation. With improving health standards and longer life expectancy, this is a demographic that is financially independent and has the best years of their lives ahead of them. At the same time, smaller families and changing family structures have meant that the number of “empty-nesters” – parents staying on their own as their children travel to different cities and countries in pursuit of their careers, is growing exponentially over the last decade and will only accelerate in the coming years.

The current gap between demand (200,000 homes) in urban India and supply (20,000 homes) is only expected to grow. Due to the rapidly changing cultural relationship between parents and children, India offers a huge opportunity for senior care/senior living. 

Brand Introduction 

Columbia Pacific Communities is in the business of developing and operating senior living communities in India that help seniors live healthier, better, more active and engaged lives for longer. The category is mired in deep-rooted stigma. For decades, Indians have been familiar with the concept of “old age homes,” which paint a dreary, dismal, pitiful picture in people’s minds about life post-retirement. People have not looked at the category as a lifestyle option. It has always been seen as an option for those who don’t have a choice. However, the brand is as far from “old age homes” as one can possibly get. It is a holistic lifestyle option for seniors who like to live well, lead an active life, have seen and done it all, and now want to spend the rest of their lives in comfort and care.

The brand has actively used social media to raise awareness about the category and the brand. The campaigns on social media have always aimed to empower senior citizens by shattering age-related stereotypes and ageist attitudes that exists in society, fight the stigma associated with the category, and highlight the key issues that seniors face in our country. 

Problem Statement/Objective 

The objective of the campaign was to spread the message of gender neutrality and inspire kids to believe that they can be whoever they want to be, irrespective of their gender. Roles, responsibilities, and identities do not depend on and cannot be attributed to a particular gender.

Brief

Christmas is a special day for the brand. The agency was briefed on creating a clutter-breaking digital brand campaign that took forward the brand message of positive ageing and empowering the seniors to take charge of their lives, look at age as just a number and more as an enabler rather than a deterrent. 

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Creative Idea 

Having lived through times when gender stereotypes were more rampant than today, the senior residents of Columbia Pacific Communities were ideal role models to impart the message of gender neutrality to the next generation. The #MissSanta campaign aimed to sensitize young children in a fun and non-preachy way that the future is genderless.

By presenting Santa as a woman, the brand attempted to redefine gender roles and re-establish role models for children in their most impressionable years. The idea required seniors to impart this very important message, because children naturally have a strong affinity towards senior citizens, which also include their grandparents.

Seniors established themselves as shining examples for life, thereby becoming true embodiments of the brand’s core philosophy of positive ageing.  

The campaign won at Social Samosa’s Best Social Media Brands – SAMMIE in 2022.

Execution 

The campaign essentially was about a social experiment that saw children aged between 6 and 10 years describe their version of Santa Claus to a sketch artist. In every child’s imagination, Santa Claus was described as a man with a big beard and belly, which got reflected in the several portraits that the artist sketched. 

Just as the children were looking at their ideas of who Santa Claus is come to life on canvas, three female senior residents in Santa costumes surprised the kids by appearing before them. The children looked at them with innocent awe as they realised that Santa does not necessarily have to be a man. Women can be Santa too.  

The initiative witnessed participation from senior residents from the brand’s senior living communities who were excited to impart a transformative, paradigm-shifting message to the future generations. 

The philosophy of “Positive Ageing” is the core ethos of the brand. It is a simple philosophy that empowers seniors to take charge of their lives, look at age as just a number and more as an enabler rather than a deterrent. 

The campaign was released across Facebook, Instagram and YouTube handles of Columbia Pacific Communities garnering rave reviews and appreciation from everyone. 

Results 

The campaign went live on multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. A total of INR 1.76 lakhs was spent on the digital promotions of the campaign. 

The campaign reached 1.6 million users on Facebook and Instagram and was viewed by around 1.3 million users on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube over a period of ten days. 

The brand overachieved the campaign objectives across all the digital platforms by 307% on Facebook, 93% on Instagram and 155% on YouTube. 

The campaign had an EMV (Earned Media Value) of Rs 18.75 lakhs. It was covered by popular Advertising and Marketing platforms.

There was a quantifiable impact on the brand metrics. A brand health study with a sample size of 650 conducted in August 2022 showed that there was a 9% increase in spontaneous brand awareness as compared to the last year. The campaign also contributed to an increase in brand consideration from 33.1% in 2021 to 38.1% in 2022. There was a significant increase in the Net Promoter Score (NPS) from 29.0 in 2021 to 50.1 in 2022. 

Piali Dasgupta, Senior Vice President Marketing at Columbia Pacific Communities, “Having lived through the times where gender stereotypes were more rampant than today, our senior residents were more than eager to impart the message of gender neutrality to the next generation. The Ms Santa campaign is aimed to sensitize young children in a fun and non-preachy way that the future is genderless. By presenting Santa as a woman, we attempted to redefine gender roles and re-establish role models for children in their most impressionable years. We wanted seniors to impart this very important message, because children naturally have a strong affinity towards all senior citizens, including their grandparents.”


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