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    AXA’s mission to normalize me-time, self-care and positive mental health across Asia

    AXA is promoting the importance of ‘Me Time’ and positive mental health care with a sensory campaign targeting Asia’s overworked “sandwich generation”.

    The ‘Make Time For Me-Time’ campaign, created by Publicis Groupe Hong Kong, aims to normalize the importance of taking time out without feeling guilty and redefine healthcare to include self-care.

    AXA is targeting Asia’s sandwich generation, who balance caring for their elderly parents as well as their children, leaving very little time for themselves, according to Sabrina Cheung, chief brand and communications officer at AXA Asia.

    “Asia traditionally has a family-oriented culture where individuals find themselves spending their waking hours caring for others, and so can deprioritize ‘me time'”, Cheung told The Drum.  

    “It is particularly acute in this region where there have historically been more limited social safety nets in retirement, so there is a greater need to care for older relatives. This has also been exacerbated by Covid-19 when the line between work and home responsibilities has blurred.”

    “Many of us also belong to this group, and we understand the pressures they face. Because of their family commitments, they can often feel guilty or ashamed when they do find a few minutes to devote to themselves – especially if it means telling someone ‘No’.

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    “We know self-care is critical to wellbeing, and this has also been shown by AXA’s own research and experience. After the challenges of the pandemic, “Making Time for Me-Time” has never been more relevant,” said Cheung.  

    The regional campaign, which is running in Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, builds on AXA’s brand strategy to promote positive mental health and wellbeing as part of a broader focus on holistic health.  

    To bring this to life as part of the campaign, AXA teamed with artist YoshiRotten and directors Zhang + Knight to create a series of eye, breathing and stretching exercises to help soothe the body and mind using the science of shape, color, and sound.

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    The Art Care Series features outdoor activations in high-traffic areas across the region to remind people to take time out for themselves. The campaign also included a pop-up space in Hong Kong for World Mental Health Day and influencer engagement with celebrities sharing their experiences and tips for making time for Me-Time.

    The integrated campaign taps into the sensory science behind how humans physically and mentally respond to color: soft blues help with mental fatigue, red is associated with energy and improving blood circulation, and yellows create a sense of warmth.

    Natalie Lam, chief creative officer, Publicis Groupe, APAC & MEA, said, “We didn’t just want to simply preach AXA’s beliefs with standard one-way communication. We wanted to make the audience feel better, calmer, more energized already just by engaging with our campaign, so we set out to turn each media touchpoint into an act of healing by color. 

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    “We worked with color experts to identify the therapeutic power of colors: blue is calming, orange is invigorating, red is empowering. 

    Lam said the agency wanted to avoid the predictable wellness and exercise content that has saturated the market in recent years and create a “more interesting angle to get the point across”.

    “When it comes to Art Care, the scale is large. The different exercises are not only running in markets such as Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand but also in different forms, from online to offline. 

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    “For example, in Hong Kong, for World Mental Health Day, there is a dedicated pop-up Art Care experience for people to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. In Thailand, the Philippines, Hong Kong, at the busiest central business districts, and high-traffic jam roads when people need a break the most, they could find the art care exercises on digital out-of-home channels, as well as on social platforms that are known for overwhelming amounts of content. We turned all these channels into moments for Art Care, relaxation, and me-time.”

    Lam continues, “We want to encourage the sandwich generation to feel good about taking the first step to refocus on their own wellbeing, with a very empowering statement, ‘Make Time For Me Time’; yet not overwhelm them with something that’s impossible to achieve. Therefore the communication was a gentle approach in setting bite-sized, tangible examples of me-time moments without alienating from one’s family and work needs.

    “To change someone’s mindset and start a new routine means taking that important first step. We want that first step to be positive, encouraging and achievable,” said Lam. 

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