[Case Study] How An Insurance Brand Created A Friendlier Image By Hosting Stand-Up Comedy On Twitter

Case study on #StandUpOnTwitter, a Twitter and YouTube led campaign by HDFC Life where stand up comedy themed around 'bad investments' was streamed online, along with Twitter contests to build buzz


Life insurance companies are a serious lot given the nature of the business they are in. Coming across as trustworthy companions even after life, is of utmost importance for their survival. However, most often, quite unwittingly, insurance brands create a serious image looked upon as “difficult to approach” by consumers. As such brands in the insurance sector are perceived to be ancient, unfriendly and serious. But one brand has successfully tried to shed off this image.

HDFC Life, one of India’s leading private life insurance companies, wanted to change this perception and come across as a more friendly and youth oriented brand. It was also looking to create brand awareness keeping ‘Investment’ in mind.

Last year, the brand hosted the first ever stand-up comedy on Twitter themed #Little2Adjust by teaming up with a couple of stand up comedians who responded to witty user questions on relationships with short funny videos and shared them on Twitter. Based on the positive response on social media, HDFC Life decided to build on it, in the second edition of the Twitter and YouTube driven campaign.


To establish HDFC Life as a more friendly and youth oriented insurance brand, by leveraging Twitter and YouTube to host a live stand-up comedy act.

To create brand awareness around ‘investments’ while creating a humorous engagement with youngsters on social media.


HDFC Life launched the second phase of its stand-up comedy campaign on Twitter – ‘#StandUpOnTwitter’ where the agenda was comedy. The insurance brand in association with funny trio – Azeem Banatwalla, Karunesh Talwar and Kunal Kamra hosted a live stand up comedy act on Twitter on Friday, the 9th of January 2015. The theme for the comedy act was set as ‘Insane Investments’.

The brand started building up buzz from the start of the week, using its social media properties on Facebook and Twitter. Short teaser videos were shared on the brand’s Facebook and Twitter pages to generate curiosity. These teaser videos revealed day by day provided a glimpse into the humour quotient in the stand up act.

Parallely, the insurance brand leveraged Twitter with cool contests where the wittiest responses were gratified with gift vouchers every 10 minutes. In the first phase, users were asked to share witty, quirky tweets that matched the expressions of the comedians. The second phase of the contest needed them to share ‘insane investments’ made by them. In the third contest phase, users needed to share selfies that best matched the expressions of the comedians. HDFC StanduponTwitter contest

These contests were tied up with the campaign hashtag ‘#StandUpOnTwitter’, as a result of which the hashtag trended on Twitter for the better part of the day, thereby generating massive awareness on Twitter.

On Friday, the day of the live comedy act, HDFC Life continued the excitement on Twitter with interesting contests. Contests invited users to share witty lines based on finance or insurance related terms. Another contest invited users to get creative with movie names and replace them with new versions that involved a financial term. These contests were also tied up with the campaign hashtag ‘#StandUpOnTwitter’.

Participation was incentivised. Along with vouchers, the most interactive twitterati would be gratified with the grand prize of an iPad Mini.

Just before the live show was to be streamed, users were invited to have their funniest lines to a friend feature in the act. Using the campaign hashtag, participants needed to tag their friend on Twitter and say something funny to them. The funniest lines would then be featured in the stand up act.

While the act was live streamed, the brand ensured the fun continued on Twitter. The Twitter handle engaged and reshared user responses on the live comedy. Users were encouraged to ask questions on ‘investments’ and promised funny video responses by the funny trio.

The funny trio threw light on some intelligent observations on stupidity, and stupid investments made by Punjabis, Bollywood, Americans, hotels and more in the stand up comedy act lasting for half and hour.

While quirky questions poured in on Twitter, they got on to the job of creating hilarious responses to them through short videos. Within a short span of time, these funny response videos were shared with the users by also tagging them on Twitter.


  • 20k tweets received over the one week
  • 10k tweets received on Friday 9th Jan, the day of the live comedy act
  • #StandUpOnTwitter trended on Twitter India for entire day. More than 4 hours at 1st position.
  • Highest rate of engagement on 9th Jan due to the live streaming
  • #StandUpOnTwitter videos received 2 lakh + views on YouTube (inclusive of Facebook as well)

A cool blend of comedy, co-creation & contests

While the first phase of #StandUpOnTwitter last year set the stage for the insurance brand, the second phase helped establish a stronger hold on the brand objective – to be a friendlier brand. Well themed around ‘Insane Investments’ with a live stand up comedy act at its core, HDFC Life built the right amount of buzz on social media, while building a fun engagement for youngsters.

Co-creation with the community has ensured deeper engagement with its target group, while stand-up comedy added the ‘youth oriented’ brand image. HDFC Life’s #StandUpOnTwitter has set a great example for the BFSI industry to engage young people in this social media driven age, with the use of comedy, co-creation and contests.