In line with its commitment to normalizing conversations around mental health and creating awareness on mental health issues, Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited is launching yet another disruptive initiative. Ahead of World Mental Health Day, the company will be launching unique designs of facemasks that carry curated messages on spreading awareness and acceptance of mental health issues.
Each mask will carry a message on the prevention of mental illness while also encouraging people who suffer from mental illness to speak about their condition. To amplify this message, the company has collaborated with several influencers, who will wear masks with the campaign hashtag #UnmaskYourFeelings to create a buzz on social media. The company also has roped in influencers like Robin Uthappa, Neha Dhupia, Ranvijay Singh, Soha Ali Khan, and Ayaz Memon to spread the message.
These face masks will be available on Amazon at a nominal price. The proceeds from the sale of these masks will go to the non-governmental organization, Mental Health Foundation India and will be used to conduct mental health awareness and counseling sessions
Ruchika Varma, Chief Marketing Officer, Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited talks to us about Mental Health issues, their new campaign, and much more…
What has made Future Generali India take up Mental Health as an issue and the talking point?
Mental health issues have been prevalent in India for a while now. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, 1 in every 5 Indians (or 270 million Indians)currently suffers from some mental health issues. We are 139th out of 149 countries on the Happiness Index (Indian Psychiatric Society). A report of the UN indicated that mental illness is a parallel pandemic. However, in spite of the statistics, the stigma around the subject continues.
As a brand that believes in leading with a human touch, we thought it was high time a movement was started to propel Indians to take their mental health seriously. We at Future Generali have been doing this for well over a year now, with multiple initiatives. We hope to continue to spark a conversation on this sensitive subject and drive home the point that mental health is as important as physical health.
How was Mask Messaging conceptualized?
It is a fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the pre-existing mental health crisis in India. It has also made us adapt to the new normal—wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and working from home are all a part of our lives now. Unfortunately due to the pandemic which seems to be unending, we will have to continue to mask up for the foreseeable future
What better way to spread a timely and relevant message about mental health than by using the ubiquitous face mask, which has become a symbol of the pandemic? We wanted to use the symbol of one pandemic to prevent another. While people are using colorful masks to make a fashion statement, we realized that they could spread awareness about an issue that affects the entire country. And that is how the #UnmaskYourFeelings campaign was born.
Can you talk us through the idea, strategy, and the final campaign?
#UnmaskYourFeelings is a movement by Future Generali to protect India’s mental health. Our main aim is to normalize the conversation around mental health by creating awareness on the subject. We first came up with the idea of using the face mask—which has become synonymous with the pandemic—to achieve our goal. These masks carry curated messages on spreading awareness, accepting mental health issues, and encouraging people to speak about them.
We joined hands with Wildcraft to introduce ‘The Mental Health Saviour Kit’–a set of 3 specially curated masks with messages on mental health. This kit of 3 masks is available on Amazon at a nominal price of Rs. 299. The proceeds from the sale of these masks are directed to our NGO partner, Mental Health Foundation India, and used to conduct mental health awareness and counseling sessions, making each person who buys the mask a mental health warrior.
What were the marketing initiatives for this campaign?
The campaign was launched on World Mental Health Day (October 10, 2021), with an informative video as a conversation starter. The video speaks about how imperative it is to ensure that we do not have another pandemic—that of mental illness—and uses the mask as a medium of information to spread this message.
To amplify this message, Future Generali collaborated with several influencers, who wore the masks with the campaign hashtag #UnmaskYourFeelings to create a buzz on social media. Influencers like Robin Uthappa, Neha Dhupia, Ranvijay Singh, Soha Ali Khan, and Ayaz Memon were also roped in to spread the message.
What is the media plan for this campaign? Will it be more concentrated on the digital platforms?
Due to the stigma attached to speaking about it in India, mental health is still not a part of living room conversation. With internet consumption increasing exponentially during and post the pandemic, and with more and more young people willing to share their mental health struggles on social media, there is a strong online movement to normalize this conversation.
Social media is now one of the primary mediums for any interaction with the consumer. Therefore, armed with strong visuals and video messaging, we focused on key mediums like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube—to catch the target audience where they feel most comfortable. We tied up with nano influencers on Instagram, who wore the masks and helped raise awareness about it. We also included a call to action, urging people to click a selfie wearing a mask and share it on their social media handles with the campaign hashtag, #UnmaskYourFeelings.
Have people become more receptive to insurance, especially health insurance, during this pandemic?
Dealing with the global pandemic and its repercussions, such as lockdowns, social distancing, loss of human life, and economic disruptions, has definitely impacted human behavior and pushed consumers to change how they look at insurance. There has been a distinct change in people’s consumption patterns since 2020—with people showing a greater appreciation for insurance, especially health insurance, as a category.
The pandemic not only challenged our healthcare system but also caused consumers to take their health seriously and learn about their health risks. They have woken up to the realization that health is an asset that needs financial protection. As a result, consumers are now seeking to mitigate this risk. Health Insurance has seen the highest interest and attention since last year within the General Insurance category, and the contribution of health insurance to overall business has increased massively.
As an insurance company, what are your thoughts on mental health, and are Indians now open to talking about it?
Destigmatizing an issue like mental health illness is a mammoth task. One has to recognize the cultural context and address it delicately over a long period of time with multiple initiatives around mental health and well-being—starting from differentiated and innovative product propositions, services, and partnerships.
Our objective behind these efforts is three-fold—de-stigmatizing the issue, urging people to take action, and educating them about the medical and financial help available. We started with the product and launched a health policy that covers OPD consultation as well as hospitalization. We then went on to have multiple conversations around the subject with our campaigns such as #HealthInsideOut and by launching a diagnostic tool called Total Health Score. We went on to launch Mind Matters, a specially curated talk show where India’s top athletes spoke about their mental health struggles and triumphs. Due to this, we have seen a growth in interest in mental health conversations on social media. We believe that the more the subject is discussed openly, the better our chances are of sparking a change in the mindset of people over a period of time.
What will be the other initiatives for 2022?
Future Generalirealises that these campaigns are only the first step towards normalizing people’s outlook towards their mental health. It isn’t only about selling insurance or being the first brand in the category to talk about mental health. It is about helping people get better by providing them with the option of getting the help they need.
The conversation about mental health is just getting started, and the space in itself is full of possibilities and the potential for deeper and more meaningful conversations. We will continue to push ourselves and find newer and more unique ways to address the country’s issues around mental health.