Talking About Death Is A Cultural Taboo In India, Says Anisha Motwani, Director & CMO At Max Life Insurance

In an Interview with Anisha Motwani, Director & CMO At Max Life Insurance we try to understand the #SecondChance campaign objective and the uniqueness in it


In India, insurance is viewed largely as a tax-saving instrument. People put aside money every year to “invest” in insurance, they believe they are invincible and nothing bad can happen to them. Intending to spread awareness on the importance of life insurance, Max Life Insurance - a joint venture between Max India and MS - had launched the ‘#SecondChance’ campaign last month.

The insurance brand’s Second Chance digital campaign brought forth true stories of people who have had a close encounter with death and how it jolts them into realization to not take their lives for granted. While a dedicated website was home to the second chance stories, people could also join in by adding their own stories and spreading the awareness through their social connections.

Read also: “#SecondChance: Max Life Leverages Digital Storytelling To Sell Insurance Online

Why did a life insurance brand chose a taboo topic in India like ‘death’ in its storytelling campaign? How were the second chance stories arrived at? How was user response? In a conversation with Anisha Motwani, Director & Chief Marketing Officer At Max Life Insurance, we try to understand the campaign objective and the uniqueness in it:

1. At a time when most of your competitors have chosen long format TVC, Max Life’s focus has been promoting its product via true stories. What has been the brand objective and the reason to choose this form of promotions?

Through this campaign Max Life has undertaken a digital awareness initiative named ‘Second Chance’ to create public awareness about the need for protection through life insurance.  This is a unique initiative by Max Life to make people re-think about the fact that no one is immortal in the world, life is uncertain and misfortune can strike anyone, anytime.

In India, insurance is majorly considered as an investment option; not too many people see it as an essential part of financial planning. We also tend to live under the shadows of misplaced optimism, making us believe that misfortune will never strike us. With this campaign we have tried to create awareness about the need for protecting one’s life through real life stories and encourage people to think and consider protecting ones life for the sake of not just themselves but more so for their families. The campaign comprises of two videos with real stories of people, narrating how their lives have given them second chance which in most cases is rare. The videos also showcase and experience of the family members in the vulnerable & tragic condition.

2. All the three videos in SecondChance talk about the stories of three common men. How did you select them and was it intentional to select simple people to connect with masses?

It was absolutely intentional to pick real people and tell their stories to the nation. We wanted every single person who watched the film to believe that this could happen just as easily to them or to someone in their family. This was needed so that viewers could form an instant connect with the people in the films and with the message we intend to convey.

The selection criteria was two fold - we picked survivors… people who had a near-death experience and got saved by a whisker, and second, people who had families that were dependent upon them - emotionally as well as financially.

3. The campaign was further integrated on social media with #SecondChance. Your thoughts on it and how has the user submission been in terms of uploading stories?

Our aim has been to keep this campaign very conversation centric and hence the decision to use social media platforms heavily. On social, we have used videos with real stories of people who’ve had a narrow escape. These videos inspire and encourage people. Social also drives people through Facebook and twitter to a website, where they can view videos, get inspired from more stories of real people who have had near death experience, submit their own #secondchance stories and most importantly, take steps to protect their family. Social was also leveraged to take conversations further by roping in people on twitter to talk about #IfIHadASecondChance, what would they love to do for their family. Through influencers, facebook, twitter and story sharing sites, we encouraged people to think, to talk, to share …and most importantly realise the value of their loved ones. And not wait for a #SecondChance. We also reached out to social influencers and bloggers and ask them to reach out to their following and guide, inspire and urge people to protect those they love.

We always knew that a subject like this is very sensitive and not many people would be forthcoming in sharing their stories. So we never expected hundreds or thousands of stories to come in. The story submissions have been few but we are happy with the quality of stories that we have received. They are truly heart wrenching and full of realization that life is uncertain and not everyone gets a second chance.

Anisha Motwani Director & CMO Max Life

4. While the campaign stands out for the way a story is being told and very subtle product promotions, some complained that the campaign injected fear in minds. Your thoughts on it.

The biggest challenge faced  by us as a brand is that talking about death is a cultural taboo in India. People are not open to the idea of conversing about it. The general sentiment amongst people is that they are invincible and nothing bad can happen to them. This is what we call as ‘misplaced optimism’. To initiate a mindset change amongst people, we took a rather bold step and brought out stories of real people who have had a close encounter with an unfortunate situation.

5. How do you plan to take it further from here?

Max Life ran the campaign through Social Media platforms like You Tube, Facebook and Twitter, directing people to a website, where they can view videos, get inspired from stories of real people who have had near death experiences personal instances and take steps to protect their family. On this website, people are also be able to share their real incidence of “Second Chance”. Max Life also reached out to bloggers and opinion leaders who command a following on the internet and asked them to rally around the cause and urge people to protect their loved ones.