Nikita Mishra
Sep 26, 2022

AXA 'breaks myths' and questions stereotypes in latest campaign

AXA's chief brand and communications officer Sabrina Cheung and Publicis' creative chief Natalie Lam on the conception behind the insurance brand's first-ever social-first campaign.

A visual from AXA's new campaign.
A visual from AXA's new campaign.

From breakfast cereals causing cancer to baking soda removing cellulite, the health and wellness industry is rife with misconceptions. A playful new integrated campaign by insurance giant AXA aims to debunk these myths. 

#BreakTheMyth, a social-first campaign designed to cut through the noise by offering simple, science-based facts to consumers, kicks off this week in Thailand and Indonesia through the AXA’s wellness app, Emma.

“There’s an increasing need from consumers, especially the time-starved sandwich generation, to sift out the signal from the noise and obtain reliable, fact-based information and advice,” says AXA's chief brand and communications officer for APAC, Sabrina Cheung.

Global creative partner Publicis Groupe partnered with illustrator Camilo Huinca to create a series of Instagramable visuals, digital assets with uplifting social clips aimed at encouraging a broader social conversation on our digital lives being 'littered' by misconceptions and fake information.  

Photo: AXA


On the creative process, Natalie Lam, chief creative officer of Publicis Groupe AMEA (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) says: “Both Thailand and Indonesia—though diverse—are markets with a lot of texture, richness and tradition. A Gecko chirping 11 times will bring good luck is a common belief in Thailand, a popular belief in Indonesia is that toothpaste can soothe burns. Every culture has certain myths, or old wives’ tales and we aim to break these with credible and relatable advice, which is delivered in a fun, light-hearted way and leaves a clear impact.”

Instead of the typical film or long-form video format, the agency chose to opt for a “bold, humorous and striking illustrations-animation approach to capitalise on short-form video formats on TikTok, Reels and YouTube Shorts.

This is the first time the French insurance giant is dipping its toes in a social-first campaign.

“Since the start of the pandemic, social-media consumption skyrocketed. It means there’s a greater opportunity for us to effectively use this tool to engage, inform and connect with our target audiences through content that is relevant to them,” says Cheung. "Of course it doesn’t hurt that there is a global move in insurance firms targeting digital natives like millennials and Gen Z consumers who are entering into the prime purchasing years of their life."

For the activation in Indoneisa, a robot goat challenges people to an arm-wrestling match in front of the country's largest mall. Photo: AXA


The campaign builds on AXA’s global tagline 'Know You Can'. The message of revelling in the power of information for better health and better livelihoods adds to brand promise and creates a consistent, comprehensive identity, according to Cheung.

As much as AXA is an insurance firm, one of the key challenges it faces is to pivot brand identity from the drab business of payments and payouts to stand out as an integrated health player in the wellness space. Cheung tells Campaign Asia-Pacific that the launch of Emma, AXA’s all-in-one wellness app in Hong Kong, the Philippines, mainland China, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand, reinforces the nuts and bolts of the same business plan. The current activations, which use a hyperlocal approach in both the key markets of Thailand and Indonesia, are examples of how the company has been strengthening its brand with integrated local ethos, partnerships and content.

“Authentic brand connection is important and at the heart of what we do. The idea was to let the audience reflect on their everyday lives and encourage them to learn about Emma. We took advantage of consumer insights to identify the key myths locals grew up with and brought to life this humorous campaign,” says Cheung.

As for the distribution plan for this activation, Cheung says that “the campaign will run until December 2022 in both countries on OOH, digital and social platforms. In Thailand, OOH advertising will be distributed extensively across 95 digital screens, while in Indonesia the OOH element will be interactive. 

Cheung adds that solidifying brand awareness and creating more direct users for Emma is the immediate target. “KPIs for success will include metrics such as impressions, engagement and reach across social channels, as well as conversion and lead generation rate to measure the performance of the campaign," she says. 

However, she emphasises that the ultimate goal “is to bring light-hearted joy and a smile on people’s faces".

"If you can pause, make time for a grin in your busy life, that’s when you know communication has been powerful and works the best," she adds. 

As a marketer, Cheung highlights that the volatility and the economic slowdown during the pandemic prompted the brand to ramp up digitisation work, double down on tech advancements, and focus on both physical and mental health.

“The pandemic made people hyper-aware of their health and normalised discussions around wellbeing. We did a large-scale global research in 11 European and Asian countries and found that mind health (46%) is the second most common thing that most people around the globe think the pandemic will have a lasting impact on," she says. "Breaking the taboo around mental health aligns with our longstanding efforts to promote wellbeing and integrate mental health as part of our differentiated strategic focus."

Past AXA campaigns that have included a focus on mental-health plans are 'Fit to Flourish', 'AXA Better Me', and 'Make Time for Me-Time'. 

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