How SBI Life Insurance raised awareness of breast cancer detection in rural India

WATConsult was highly commended for ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ at The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2019 with its ‘Thanks A Dot’ campaign for SBI Life Insurance. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this successful project

The challenge

Breast Cancer is the #1 killer of women in India (Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)).

The biggest reason for this is late detection as women in India do not practice breast self-examination. Even those who are aware of self-examination often do not know what to look for. The major reason for self-examination failure is women being unaware and uncertain of their self-detection capability. This not only makes treatment difficult with a lowered chance of success but also exponentially more expensive than early detection cases. These facts make breast cancer survival rate in India half of that in the west.

SBI Life Insurance, one of India's leading life insurance brands, wanted to change the way breast cancer is seen and dealt with in India - both rural and urban. The objective was to promote self-examination so that more women are empowered.

The strategy

India is seeing a steady rise in the cases of Breast Cancer, with as many as 1,00,000 new cases being detected every year. Indian women are mostly not aware of self-detection. Even those who are aware are extremely averse to getting breasts checked due to shyness.

All breast cancer initiatives so far have focused on 'awareness' at a broad level with negligible success in habit-making and knowledge sharing. The need of the hour, given how grave the situation is, is to make a solution that helps not just in talking about breast cancer but also teaches how to detect early.

Statistics say that Breast cancer incidence age in India is 30 years old, down from 50 years old 20 years back (ICMR). Our target audience was all women in India starting age 27. The disparity in medical awareness is huge between urban and rural India. To enable adoption across audiences, the tool was made available for free.

Different strategies were employed for both urban and rural demographics. A digital-first strategy for urban India where media and influencer marketing drove the ordering of the free Thanks A Dot kits from the website was deployed accompanied with a 360-degree digital campaign comprising of videos, digital banners, and interactive forms.

Rural India is defined by being media dark with low print and TV penetration, so the rural strategy to drive awareness and acceptance was on-ground activations done at scale using a breast cancer survivor.

The campaign

Thanks A Dot is a Braille-inspired tactile-based learning tool that uses real stage 1 breast cancer lump shapes to teach early breast cancer lump detection. The tool was designed to be taught in on-ground experiential workshops.

300 workshops were conducted all over India to teach the necessity of the tool and the mechanism of usage. The conceptualization included the creation of content that would support physical experience of the product as it's a learning tool. The tool was freely available online and distributed free across India. Each workshop was also used as a distribution occasion.

The results

The campaign created a wave of positive conversations about Breast cancer:

  • Over 10K kits were ordered online.
  • The campaign garnered 55.6M impressions.
  • The campaign videos registered more than 3.8M+ views.
  • Earned media worth 8.43M INR.

Renowned personalities who are also cancer survivors supported the campaign ex. Indian cricketer (cancer survivor) Yuvraj Singh and veteran Indian actress (cancer survivor) Manisha Koirala.

Support came from the field of sports, politics and media alike viz. former Australian cricketer Brett Lee, Indian cricketer Shashank Singh, former education minister Ashok Choudhary, and Indian Olympic medalist boxer Mary Kom have raised their support on Twitter too.

The brand conducted workshops and trainings in more than 300 villages.

This project was highly commended at The Drum Social Buzz Awards 2019. Click here to register your interest in next year’s event.

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