#RayOfHope: HDFC Life Pitches Its Cancer Care Plan With Celebrity Cancer Survivor Lisa Ray

HDFC Life has roped in cancer survivor Lisa Ray to build awareness on the need for being financially prepared in fighting cancer, for the promotions of its Cancer Care Plan


Model, actress and social activist, Lisa Ray has been more in the news for her fight against cancer than her professional career. Her battle and resuming life post cancer is a story of great motivation. Lisa was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare type of cancer in 2009.

A stem cell transplant a year later made her cancer-free but the fight against cancer is an ongoing one. The lady has now been roped in as the face of the HDFC Life #RayOfHope campaign, that highlights the need to be financially prepared to fight cancer. The idea is to promote its Cancer Care plan that provides financial protection for both early and major stage of cancer.

Cancer treatment can cost anything between Rs. 3 to 25 lakhs based on the severity and the type, causing a massive financial drain on the family income. Indians affected with cancer often dread the financial blow to their families rather than their own suffering. It makes sense for an insurance provider to build awareness on its cancer cover plan, via a celebrity who has gone through the ordeal personally.

The campaign has a 50-second spot featuring the actress, where she talks about her cancer journey and how money also played a vital role apart from inner strength to fight this dreaded disease. The last 10 seconds are devoted to product promotion with a link to the brand’s cancer care plan.


A series of short films feature the actress talking about her father being her support system, cancer statistics and the financial battle.


HDFC Life has been creating social conversations around the aptly titled campaign hashtag #RayOfHope. Prior to launching the video, a social media buzz was created around the new celebrity. Users were invited to guess the celebrity from blurred visuals that succeedingly got clearer by the day with a clue, until she was revealed along with a #RayOfHope. A contest helped drive participation and amplify the hashtag. Lisa Ray is also using her Twitter reach to amplify the message.

Awareness meets timely CTA

In a country where health and medical insurance itself is in a sorry state of affairs, building a consumer base for a Cancer Care plan looks like a challenge. Last year it was revealed by the British medical journal The Lancet that around one million new cancer cases are being diagnosed in India each year, projected to nearly double to 1.7 million new cases in 2035. Around 700,000 people are dying from cancer in India annually and more than three quarters of cancer expenditures in India come directly out of patients’ pockets, leading to catastrophic health expenditures with a cancer diagnosis. Consumers usually postpone insurance planning, making the selling of insurance plans a lot tougher for marketers.

HDFC Life’s campaign not only does its best in building awareness around the need to be financially equipped to fight cancer, but also does so using the right voice. Bringing on board Lisa Ray  has added a voice of authenticity to an awareness campaign on cancer cover, especially when no one wants to talk about the financial impact.

The concept of storytelling via a series of videos is a good thing for the digital medium, whereas the product pitch at the end of the videos make for a timely call to action. Viewers are more prone to click the link and check out the HDFC Life Cancer Care plan at the end of her story, than if prompted to check at leisure.

Going ahead, HDFC Life could engage its community around #RayOfHope by inviting user stories of having battled cancer with success.