So­cial Stigma

Show­ing in­halers in a brand new light.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Abid Hus­sain Bar­laskar abid.burlaskar@afaqs.com

Pharma ma­jor Ci­pla, in its lat­est com­mer­cial for cam­paign ‘#BerokZindagi’ aims at dis­pelling stig­mas around asthma and nor­mal­is­ing the use of in­halers in ev­ery­day life. How­ever, rop­ing in an in-vogue star like Priyanka Cho­pra and get­ting her to open up about her per­sonal bat­tles against the res­pi­ra­tory dis­or­der since child­hood, adds a shiny red cherry on the pie.

The in­haler is a drug de­liv­ery ap­pa­ra­tus which is used to treat res­pi­ra­tory disor­ders like asthma. As Ci­pla claims, in­halers hap­pen to be more po­tent than oral ad­min­is­tra­tion as the pro­ce­dure re­quires smaller doses of med­i­ca­tion de­liv­ered di­rectly to the lungs.

The lat­est com­mer­cial is part of the cam­paign launched by Ci­pla last year. The team at Ci­pla main­tains that the ‘#BerokZindagi’ cam­paign was a pilot project aimed at es­tab­lish­ing in­halers as the most ef­fec­tive and safe choice to com­bat the res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness. The cam­paign’s pur­pose was to ed­u­cate the larger asth­matic au­di­ence on how to man­age and con­trol the dis­ease. Ci­pla re­leased two ads last year for ‘#BerokZindagi’, on sim­i­lar lines. The lat­est ad is aimed at so­cial stig­mas - one of the key fac­tors for lim­ited dis­clo­sure of be­ing asth­matic and avoid­ing in­haler use in pub­lic.

In the ad film, Priyanka is shown to be suf­fer­ing from asthma since she was five. It was her mother, a doc­tor, who en­cour­aged her to use in­halers. How­ever, it was her rel­a­tives who were ap­pre­hen­sive that it would make her re­liant on the med­i­ca­tion.

WHY AN AD?

Aren’t in­halers pre­scrip­tion medicines? How does this B2C com­mu­ni­ca­tion ben­e­fit Ci­pla as a brand? afaqs!Re­porter spoke to Nikhil Cho­pra, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and head, In­dia Busi­ness, Ci­pla, to find out more about the brand’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

“There is a lack of aware­ness on in­hala­tion ther­apy in In­dia. It’s sur­rounded by so­cial stigma. Forty seven per cent of pa­tients fear the so­cial stigma more than the dis­ease it­self. Our re­search also re­vealed pre­vail­ing myths and mis­con­cep­tions that in­halers are ad­dic­tive, have strong med­i­ca­tion and are not suit­able for chil­dren,” Cho­pra ex­plains.

The cam­paign aims to nor­malise the use of in­halers as a cat­e­gory and in­crease pa­tient aware­ness. The aim is to pro­mote aware­ness among pa­tients to con­sult doc­tors for the most ef­fec­tive treat­ment of asthma, which is in­hala­tion ther­apy. “The cam­paign is our ef­fort to go be­yond drugs and de­vices and shape the res­pi­ra­tory health ecosys­tem. This thought stems from Ci­pla’s pur­pose of ‘car­ing for life’ and fo­cuses on ‘pa­tient-cen­tric­ity’ that drives our in­no­va­tion phi­los­o­phy,” says Cho­pra.

Speak­ing about the brand’s brief, June­ston Mathana, creative di­rec­tor, Grey Group - In­dia, who worked on the cam­paign, says, “The brand’s sharply de­fined ob­jec­tive was to in­crease the us­age of in­halers by re­mov­ing the stigma as­so­ci­ated with the dis­ease and elim­i­nat­ing the myths sur­round­ing the ther­apy. One of the big­gest myths was re­lated to the ad­dic­tion of in­halers. With Priyanka on board, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion needed to re­flect her un­stop­pable at­ti­tude in life and use her per­son­al­ity to bust the ‘ad­dic­tion’ myth sur­round­ing in­hala­tion ther­apy.”

With re­gard to the chal­lenges of this med­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Mathana ex­plains, “We had to show in­halers as the so­lu­tion for asth­mat­ics to lead a bet­ter life­style rather than fo­cus on their con­di­tion. And it helped that Priyanka has been an asth­matic since child­hood.”

EX­PERT SPEAK

Pra­ful Akali, founder and MD, Medulla Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, an agency that spe­cialises in health­care com­mu­ni­ca­tion, main­tains that the com­mu­ni­ca­tion has the po­ten­tial to be­come a move­ment. It takes a real per­son like Priyanka, who demon­strates ‘#BerokZindagi’ and gives away her se­cret to break myths and false per­cep­tions.

“I hope the brand puts me­dia monies be­hind it and utilises the cam­paign to its full po­ten­tial. It also has po­ten­tial for some great PR, so­cial and user-gen­er­ated cam­paigns as an off­shoot of the ad,” Akali says.

His opin­ion re­gard­ing the brand’s B2C com­mu­ni­ca­tion for a B2B cat­e­gory is, “Gone are the days when pharma was seen as a B2B cat­e­gory - it’s now clear that con­sumers, doc­tors and phar­ma­cists, (also di­eti­cians, gym in­struc­tors, care­givers etc. some­times) each play a role in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process for pharma or health­care brands. So, pharma com­pa­nies are reach­ing out to a mix of these stake­hold­ers to drive brand de­ci­sions”.

Adding his take on how Ci­pla would reap the ben­e­fits from the ad film, Akali says, “Pa­tients be­lieve that in­halers are ad­dic­tive and users have very poor health or are weak. By us­ing Priyanka’s story to break these mis­per­cep­tions the cam­paign should get pa­tients to com­ply with in­haler pre­scrip­tions where Ci­pla is by far, the mar­ket leader, thus di­rectly ben­e­fit­ing Ci­pla’s busi­ness.”

Pravin Su­tar, ex­ec­u­tive creative di­rec­tor, Dentsu We­bchut­ney is of the opin­ion that the ad has man­aged to trig­ger the right con­ver­sa­tion about the prob­lem and show­cases the so­lu­tion in its full glory. He believes that us­ing Priyanka Cho­pra and her fam­ily back­ground as a part of the sto­ry­line is in­ter­est­ing, but as a creative ap­proach, it was play­ing it safe.

With re­gard to the B2C style of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, he says, “That’s a smart move, tar­get­ing the TG in this cat­e­gory who are surely look­ing for a sim­pler so­lu­tion; con­tem­plat­ing be­tween the tablets and in­halers. Brands like Ci­pla, an es­tab­lished leader, step­ping in and giv­ing their TG an as­sur­ance about a so­lu­tion, will be a big relief for them. Af­ter watch­ing this ad, any­one suf­fer­ing from asthma will be aware of the mes­sage and will ask for the in­haler.”

When it comes to ben­e­fit­ing Ci­pla, Su­tar states, “Ci­pla is try­ing to make the aware­ness su­per­strong in this cat­e­gory. By hav­ing a generic di­a­logue rather than be­ing spe­cific, Ci­pla has man­aged to trig­ger aware­ness in this cat­e­gory. It might help them in chang­ing the be­hav­iour of their TG who is stuck in that hazy dilemma. They are clearly try­ing to own the cat­e­gory. Ci­pla will stick in their TG’s mind as a first op­tion.”

“Forty seven per cent of pa­tients fear the so­cial stigma more than the dis­ease it­self.”

NIKHIL CHO­PRA

The cam­paign aims to nor­malise the use of in­halers and in­crease pa­tient aware­ness.

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