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Imbibing real-life characters in a video series to make the content much more effective, authentic and credible might still be a question for some brands. However, HDFC Life’s attempt for its video series ‘Behind the Journey’ has proved worthy. The series has increased brand awareness by 10.7% in the target age group while the average View Through Rate is above 60%. The industry average for similar length videos hovers around 30-35%.

The brand had launched the series last year in November to reach out to the millennials with personal stories of new-age artists. The current set of six videos has been laid out over a three-month period.


For digital natives, insurance is a low-involvement category and above this, the millennial audience has an alarmingly low financial awareness. To break the ice, HDFC Life reached out to influencers who were perceived as thought leaders. The insurance brand wanted to highlight the part of their story which involved the rigour of financial planning and being aware of this aspect in their journey to success. While success brings a lot of fame and money, it also gives independence to choose one’s projects. This has a strong link back to the 'Sar Utha Ke Jiyo', a line that underscores the brand’s proposition.

Vishal Subharwal

Vishal Subharwal, Executive Vice-President, E-commerce and Digital Marketing, HDFC Life told, “The end goal is to get the audience on board with a story they can feel a part of, which is either relatable or participatory in nature. The end consumer is much more likely to click to buy if they associate with what the brand stands for, rather than after being bombarded with endless communication.”


Shedding light on the aspirations, struggles and passion that go into following ones’ dreams, ‘Behind the Journey’ takes this thought forward with artists like Divine and Ankur Tewari. It focuses on the lives and ideas of creators, trying to tease out the drama behind the effort it takes to rise above. So far the artists covered are Biswa Kalyan Rath, Ankur Tewari, Vivian Fernandes (Divine), Sumukhi Suresh, The Local Train and Pooja Dhingra.

The campaign encapsulates the journey of each of these artists who are from different walks of life; their struggles and their ever-evolving efforts to reach the ultimate goal in their respective fields. Influencers from varied walks of life were deliberately selected, be it a musician, a rapper, a baker, a stand-up comic, or an artist; as their combined story resonated with a much more varied audience. Each episode that covered the story of one of the influencers, tapped into the importance and the process of attaining financial independence that resonates with the core belief of HDFC Life.

The entire campaign is in a web-series format. Each episode of an influencer is preceded by a trailer that builds intrigue for the main video. After the video is consumed by the social audience, engagement-led activities such as poster launch, contest as well as merchandise for each story are initiated to drive audience participation and resonance.


Vivian Fernandes (Divine):

Ankur Tewari:


Local Train:

Sumukhi Suresh:

Pooja Dhingra:

Reel vs real-life influencers:

There's a place for both real and fictional characters. Their participation depends upon the objective that's to be attained. On social, there's a strong indication that fans more readily consume content that's familiar to the conversation space they operate in.

Speaking on why HDFC Life chose the real-life influencers, Subharwal said, “Let's get this straight; leaving the beaten path to pursue one's dreams is risky. Those who achieve this on their own terms should be celebrated. Achieving this goal through discipline and perseverance is what the campaign celebrates. There's a risk behind every collaboration but this cannot supersede the end benefits of financial awareness and security.”

“We've weaved this fabric of familiarity through relatable emotions, dreams and influencers. The fact that the people who were part of this campaign are perceived to have attained their dreams by our audience makes their stories credible and authentic,” he added.


The brand first came up with video along with Biswa Kalyan Rath that garnered 2.9M+ views on YouTube, 832K + on Facebook. The second with Ankur Tiwari had 2.4M+ views on YouTube, 808K+ on Facebook followed by Divine’s video with 7.1M+ views on YouTube and 718K on Facebook. These two videos have gained mileage in connection with the recent movie Gully Boy.

In February, it launched a video with Sumukhi Suresh (2.9M+ YouTube, 1.15M+ Facebook), and The Local Train (3.3M+ YouTube, 510K+ Facebook). Last week, it came up with a video along with Pooja Dhingra that has garnered 230K+ views on YouTube and 299K+ on Facebook.

However, Subharwal said the views on YouTube were the by-product and never the end objective of the initiative. Tangible aspects of a video like the VTR (View Through Rate), engagement quality and Brand Lift offer a deeper sense of their effect on the audience.

The series has increased brand awareness by 10.7% in the target age group while the average View Through Rate is above 60%, with the industry average for similar length videos hovering around 30-35%.

The next set is slated for the next financial year. While the current set of videos was launched with much fanfare, a deeper association will be rolled out in the next financial year. The brand believes that will take the conversation to the next level.

Disclaimer: The data related to the performance of the campaign has been claimed by brand/agency/platform/creator. has not verified the authenticity of the data and hence is not responsible for any counter claim by any other party

How has your content initiative made a difference to the brand’s purpose? Have a case study to showcase your great work and get noticed? Write in to Tejal Parmar at