Matthew Miller
Nov 5, 2019

AIA issues wakeup call about Asia's 'sleep sacrifice'

New work through BBDO Singapore highlights the positive impact of getting just one more hour of shuteye.

Giant APAC insurer AIA today releases a new piece of creative work in its quest to convince Asia to get some more sleep.

The company announced its emphasis on the issue earlier this year, and the new 90-second film—by BBDO Singapore and Abundant Productions—represents the next phase in the push. Alongside the video, the company is operating a content hub and encouraging its customers to get more sleep by rewarding them for doing so (according to stats measured by personal health trackers and fed into AIA's Vitality app). 

"We want to be at the forefront of debunking the myth that sleep sacrifice is actually conducive to success," Stuart Spencer, group CMO, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Living in this part of the world, we're exposed to the idea that you work from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, and that's a privilege. But what it's actually doing is contributing to potentially the largest public health catastrophe in modern times. Clinically, the correlation between diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and hypertension, driven by sleep deprivation, is unassailable. Mood, stress, immunity and lucidity are all interwoven into the quality of our sleep." 

Spencer is confident that taking ownership of this issue also stakes out differentiating territory for AIA.

"There is no insurer that's concentrating on this anywhere, let alone in Asia," he said. "And certainly no one that's prepared to take a stand and say, actually, sleep sacrifice is not going to get you anywhere in life. Sleep is the greatest performance drug we possess as human beings. And taking any of that away fundamentally diminishes our performance and our capability. Someone's got to set the record straight." 

More on AIA

Yet according to AIA's market research, the idea that if you're not sleep deprived, you're not working hard enough is deeply entrenched in APAC. So rather than taking a lecturing tone about risks, the new work aims to accentuate the positive under the strapline question, 'Who will you be when you wake up?'. 

"What we want to do is celebrate the exhilaration of great night's sleep, the power of sleep, the benefits of sleep—what having had a great night's sleep makes us feel, and how that feeling touches others around us," Spencer said. 

The initiaitve—AIA is adamant this is not a campaign or a temporary focus—also takes a page from behavioural science by focusing on an achievable goal rather than an unrealistic call to action, such as getting eight hours of sleep every night.

"We are encapsulating this movement under the hashtag #OneMoreHour, because we understand that just one more hour of sleep has disproportionate, multiplicative benefits to physiological and mental well-being," Spencer said. "And that's based on science." AIA is working with a Singapore neuroscientist and sleep specialist who in turn is leading a panel of experts to provide input, he added. "Everything that we are suggesting, everything that we are proclaiming, everything that we are standing for is fundamentally science-backed."

AIA's motive in the #OneMoreHour initiative, and indeed in its longstanding Vitality effort and its brand purpose of 'Healthier, longer, better lives', is of course not solely altruistic; it's also about the bottom line.

"With the amount of customers that we have with this chronic condition across Asia, we now are seeing the impact, in our business, of sleep-related disorders, and mental and physiological effects that can only be explained by people not getting enough sleep," Spencer says. "There's enough happening that we believe now is the time for us to really make this an issue." 

Health tracking: How AIA practices what it preaches

At the same time it's urging customers to track statistics to improve their health, AIA is also moving to do a better job tracking its own brand health, so that it can make evidence-based decisions about how best to improve it.

The company is working with Kantar on two initiatives. The first is what group CMO Stuart Spencer calls a brand power monitor. This is an investment in quarterly quantitative research across the company's 18 markets, with the objective of understanding the impact of the company's actions on brand relevance, difference and salience. "That will give us a clear understanding of, do people see us as being different?" Spencer said. "Do they see what we're doing as relevant? Do they see the association that we're making between AIA and 'Healthier, longer, better lives'?" 

Stephen Thomas, head of group brand and communications, added that the proprietary tool will allow business units to assess not only short-term campaigns but also overall brand momentum to understand what's going well—and where any tweaks might need to be made.

On top of this, AIA has done separate research with an eye toward finding the best ways to move the needle. "This cultural research was really at the foundational level, so that we could understand, when we're in Vietnam versus in China versus in Australia, how to express 'Healthier, longer, better lives' differently," Thomas said. "It gives us a lens to understand how we should show up in those particular markets."

Putting the two tools together, Spencer said, will give the company a better idea of what it needs to do and where, as well as insight into how to do it. 

Stuart Spencer


Chief Marketing Officer: Stuart A. Spencer
Head of Group Brand and Communications: Stephen Thomas
Director of Brand: Karen Dalgleish

BBDO Singapore
Chief Creative Officer: Danny Searle
Executive Creative Director: Mateusz Mroszczak
Head of Strategy: Andy Wilson
Creative Director: Lauren Lim
Art Director: Janna Phua
Senior Account Director: Richard Birkett, Rachel Tan
Agency Producer: Eunice Simbar

Abundant Productions
Director: Kay Lindhout
Executive producer: Ben Siow
Producer: Yarshini Sivanathan
Assistant Producer: Bharathi Priya
DOP: Martijn Melis
Editor: Dave Singh
Online Editor: Owen Lim, Ashley Tay
Audio House: Raygun Belgium

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