India – Due to the uncertainty and fears brought about by the pandemic, there has been a decline in people’s mental health, and with this, Indian insurance firm Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has launched a new campaign to emphasize the need for helping friends, family, and colleagues struggling with anxiety.
In partnership with WATConsult, the digital marketing arm of hybrid digital agency Isobar, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance’s ‘Unloop the Loop’ campaign highlights the psychological phenomenon of constantly being stuck in a negative thought loop. The 4-film campaign aims to create empathy for the ones undergoing such loops every other minute of their lives. Each loop video is centered around a different pain point – relationship, work, and general wellbeing, and the notable pace of copy clubbed with looping visuals seeks to nudge the audience to act upon the call to action.
The campaign leads audiences to a downloadable kit with a step-by-step guide to initiate the mental health conversation, simplifying the process of reaching out.
Tapan Singhel, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance’s CEO and managing director, said that people have been anxious and uncertain because of this virus which has affected millions across the world, and as a brand, they needed to step in and say that they do care and so do the people around.
“I’m sure that this mental healthcare kit will act as a guide and make people open up, but most importantly restore hope to emerge stronger from this and every crisis we face in the future,” said Singhel.
Meanwhile, Heeru Dingra, the CEO at Isobar India, said, “All of us have been stuck in the loop of negative thoughts at some point in our life. But the intensity varies for each one of us. It is imperative to welcome these life-saving mental health conversations and act as a safe space for each other.”
Sahil Shah, WATConsult’s managing partner, commented, “I believe that empathy is an understated value. It can bridge the gaps between the listener and the worrier. Just this one simple act has the most powerful effect on the one who has been struggling to unloop the loop themselves. And I believe we have taken one big step forward through this campaign.”
Singapore – A new report conducted by market research company YouGov and public relations professional body Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) reveals the current mental health state among the region’s public relation practitioners, including that 48% of respondents say they are going through a particularly stressful period in their life right now, with more than a third saying the pandemic has worsened their mental health.
According to the report, the main triggers of mental ill health faced by respondents are high workload (cited by 34% of respondents); long hours (33%); lack of reward or recognition for good work (29%); and not enough career growth (29%).
Furthermore, the report notes that due to these mental health issues, many respondents have said that they never or rarely exercise (32%), eat a healthy diet (24%) or get enough quality sleep (23%).
There has been a focus on mental health among women PR practitioners, with 39% of them having experienced a loss of interest in activities or social interactions in the last 12 months (versus 27% of men); and 37% have experienced significant changes in sleep schedule or appetite (versus 28% of men).
“The PR profession has been, as ever, resourceful and resilient in the face of the huge professional and personal challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that resourcefulness and resilience has its limits,” said Tara Munis, head of PRCA Asia Pacific.
In terms of mental health support from their employers, the report has found that 32% of the region’s employers have not communicated with staff around mental health during the last year – a number rising to 49% in Singapore and 48% in Hong Kong but dropping to 8% in Vietnam and 20% in Thailand.
In addition, 48% of employers do not provide mental health resources to staff. Again, this figure varies significantly, and is more than 50% in Singapore (69%), Hong Kong, Malaysia (both 59%) and Indonesia (52%).
Francis Ingham, director general at PRCA, commented, “Across the world, PR and communications leaders are increasingly recognizing the importance of positive mental health in their organisations, their clients, their teams, and themselves.”
Despite the mental health issue prevalent across the region’s PR practitioners, 39% of respondents say that the COVID-19 pandemic has improved their mental health than say it has worsened it (35%). In addition, 88% of respondents say they would be comfortable talking to a co-worker about their mental health problem.
Outgoing PRCA SEA Chair Lee Nugent said that as employers, they can and must make changes in regards to mental health support, noting that providing information, support and resources is just one part. He also added that they need also to ensure that they are creating a workplace culture where it’s fine for someone who needs help to say so, and then provide access to mental healthcare in the way that many of us already provide access to physical healthcare.
“The research suggests that around 29% of organizations currently offer their people access to initiatives such as EAP programs that provide professional, expert help to those who need it. I’d like to see this figure climb rapidly in the coming months. Just as importantly, it’s our responsibility to also address those critical issues that, perhaps, sit at the heart of the problem. We owe it to our people to put actions in place to deal with endemic over-working, for example, and to address poor people management both where it exists inside our own organizations and in the client/agency dynamic,” Nugent added.
Philippines – More time indoors during this period gave birth to a trend of new hobbies, and one of these is growing plants at home. In fact, in the Philippines, people who have taken interest in the activity have earned the name Plantita and Plantito, where Tita and Tito are Tagalog for auntie and uncle.
Local telco giant Globe, for its latest campaign for mental health, took the tending hobby as a theme to encourage people to immerse oneself in helpful recreation to ease one’s anxiety. Called #PlantHappinessPH, the campaign is no less a TikTok challenge which encouraged audiences to enjoy dancing and planting and revel in the simple pleasures amid the difficult situation everyone is in right now.
The campaign went live last 27 September, and according to Globe, it has already received over 1,400 video entries from people from different backgrounds such as medical frontliners, delivery riders, work-from-home moms, and office workers. The challenge, which featured the song ‘Better Days 2.0’ by Filipino rapper and songwriter Quest, also gained support from several entertainment and social media personalities.
Yoly Crisanto, Globe’s chief sustainability officer and SVP for corporate communications, shared that the challenge has also inspired others to show other hobbies beyond planting and dancing.
“We are very happy with the public response we received, and at how our message resonated with such a wide audience in the country. We got over 1,400 entries from TikTokers who danced, showed off their plant collections, sang along, documented their COVID vaccination, and showed their other simple joys such as cooking, working out, and taking care of their pets to promote mental health and well-being. The campaign exceeded the anticipated support of the community and showed how important mental health is in today’s generation,” she said.
As part of the initiative, Globe gave away thousands of free native tree seeds and seedlings to those who joined the challenge in order to add to their recreation. According to Globe, the challenge has amassed 207 million views on TikTok in just two weeks.
Crisanto adds, “We are always proactively seeking out ways to bring uplifting experiences and solutions to help our customers have good mental health. Healthy hobbies and the pursuit of simple joys are some ways to stay mentally healthy. We want to remind everyone that they are not alone in the fight against stress and anxiety. Globe fully supports their mental health wellness journey.”
Globe said its mental health advocacy is part of its commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 3, which ensures healthy lives and promotes the well-being of all ages.
The campaign’s launch was just in time for the World Mental Health Day which was celebrated last 10 October. Globe has consolidated the TikTok videos from the challenge which can be viewed on its official Facebook page.
Singapore – October is the World Mental Health Awareness Month, and in line with this, TikTok has launched a ‘Singapore Wellness Hub’ which will serve as an evergreen repository of mental health resources and wellness content contributed by non-profit partners and TikTok creators.
TikTok has been active in spearheading conversations around mental health and emotional well-being, and last September, it has also launched a livestream series on the topic, which is considered as an anchor of the initiatives it had in May which is also celebrated as a mental health month.
The current hub, aligned with the national effort by the Interagency Taskforce on Mental Health and Wellbeing in Singapore, seeks to strengthen the ability of vulnerable users to cope with anxiety and uncertainty, promote help-seeking behavior and drive greater awareness and education amongst our local community.
The new Hub, which will be launched on 15 October, will be providing connection to tips and resources on taking care of one’s self mentally.
Under ‘Wellness Matters’, users can learn and practice grounding techniques, from safe space visualization, breathing exercises to body awareness techniques, by following step-by-step short-form videos created by non-profit partners such as CARE Singapore, INSIGHT Care Corner, Limitless, and TOUCH Community Services.
Under ‘Stories’, users can draw strength from peers who have boldly shared their personal lived experiences and recovery journeys, while ‘Under ‘Support Helplines’, users can reach out directly to various non-profit organizations who are also TikTok wellness content creators – be it crisis and suicide prevention hotline by Samaritans of Singapore, free online counseling or peer support programs.
Teresa Tan, head of public policy at TikTok Southeast Asia and Singapore, said, “TikTok has become a home for wellbeing conversations that have taught us mindfulness, raised awareness on mental health, and created a much-needed sense of community over the past year.”
She adds, “With the Singapore Wellness Hub, we have brought mental health support even closer and more accessible to our users. They now have a one-stop hub where they can seek support firsthand from peers who are on their own mental health recovery journeys or professionals who offer counseling services. We welcome anyone to this safe space to share their stories, fight the stigma, educate the community, and advocate for others right here on TikTok.”
The Hub is the latest in TikTok for Good’s broader efforts to create an online safe space for users to express their vulnerabilities freely, and find communities of support and destigmatize mental health conversations. It can be accessed through in-app on TikTok.
In line with the celebration of World Mental Health Month, TikTok has also launched the Be Kind To Your Mind LIVE series from 4 to 15 October. Kicking off from 4 to 8 October, TikTok creators have gone live to share their experiences with coping methods that work; from journalling, stamp art, music to tea and food.
Meanwhile, for the first time, from the dates of 11 to 15 October, TikTok creators will be bringing their parents, grandparents, siblings, best friends, and students together on LIVE to spark intergenerational conversations on mental health. To join TikTok LIVE, users can tap the ‘Be Kind To Your Mind’ banner on TikTok’s Discover page.
The finale on 15 October, ‘All The Things We Talk About’ will be Kicking off with musical performances by wellness duo Deniece and Jade. The finale panel will unpack how to talk about mental health as a family, address the issue of trust between parent and child and discuss how to overcome the stigma of seeking support from a trusted adult.
It will be hosted by TikTok creator and artiste Xenia Tan, and the panel will feature Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs & Sustainability and the Environment, and his daughter, Kyra Tan; Nurul Aini, local actress and her daughter Shaista Eman; and TikTok creator Ng Ming Wei and his father Cedric Ng.
Philippines – If there’s a cohort that bore the brunt of the drastic shifts in the pandemic, it would have to be those at the driver’s seat – the parents. Amid augmented health scares and a dampened economy, parents have to keep it tight as they continue to provide support to their families financially and emotionally.
With this, parents are now becoming more open when it comes to finding a source of income. For Filipino parents specifically, work that offers a flexible arrangement is a top option, and within this favored setup, half of Filipino parents, or 53%, now have online freelance jobs as a top choice – those acquired through freelance platforms Upwork and the like – according to a study by digital platform for parenting, Smart Parenting. This was followed by online selling (35%) and online content creation on social media sites Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok (7%).
Filipino parents are scrambling financially with half, or 52%, were found to have not stashed an emergency fund. The rest have saved up for the rainy days, with the majority (39%) having built their funds to cover less than two years’ worth of emergency expenses.
Within family income, funding for children’s education (24%) and paying off debts (24%) are top allocations followed by spending for the family’s house and condo unit (23%). Migrating abroad also takes part in Filipino Families’ plans where 7% said that income goes into making this a reality. Meanwhile, amid personal struggles, Filipino families still include in their priorities giving back to other people, where 8% stated income is spent on philanthropy.
The current life-threatening situation is taking a toll on the majority’s mental health. Because of this, families’ mental and emotional well-being has become a top concern for parents in the present. This is true for Filipino parents (66%), followed by worries about adding to their income and caring for their children’s emotional health and social skills (16%).
The Smart Parenting Pulse: 2021 Audience Survey surveyed 2,800 respondents in the Philippines.
Singapore – TikTok Singapore has recently launched a week-long #MentalHealthAwarenesscampaign, where it has been rolling out a series of global live streams as part of ongoing efforts to invest in its community’s mental well-being. The campaign runs until 16 September.
On Monday, 13 September, local non-profit organization in Singapore, Mental ACT, went live to discuss ways in which people can take charge and ownership of their mental health.
The upcoming fresh live stream will be Wednesday, 15 September, beginning at 8 pm SGT, featuring TikTok’s Head of Regional Policy, Trust & Safety for APAC, Jamin Tan. Tanwill be joined by Seah Yang Hee, Deputy CEO and group director for service planning & funding in the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), as well as by non-profit partner Limitless, and TikTok wellness creators Yanni Ruth and Nur Hidayah Azman.
The group will be sharing how improving mental health starts with a conversation, discussing their lived experiences, and how we can, collectively, help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it.
“People need more than static pages for help; they need avenues to feel heard, and platforms that are safe for their self-expression,” shared Tan.
“We are inspired by how our community in Singapore has truly opened up a conversation about mental health, sharing and uniting others through their own inspiring stories. That is why we are pleased to be working with industry experts and mental health advocates in our efforts to raise #MentalHealthAwareness. We care deeply about our community, and will always look for new ways in which we can help to nurture their well-being,” Tan added.
Through the campaign, TikTok invites Singaporeans to engage openly and bravely with important mental well-being issues. Aside from partnering with local non-profit organizations and independent experts, TikTok has also enlisted the presence of its ‘Youth For Good’ creators, an initiative launched by the platform that seeks to empower youths to raise awareness on mental and cyber wellness.
Users can tune in live at @tiktoksg to join the conversations.
TikTok first introduced #MentalHealthAwareness globally last May to mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Esports is growing exponentially and on a global scale. According to a report by Newzoo, in the Asia-Pacific alone, the revenue within the gaming market has reached US$84.3B in 2020, making the region the largest market in the world.
In the Philippines, the number of games has now reached 43 million, and one esports platform in the country, KALARO, is on the mission to be at the forefront of the esports industry in the country and engage these players – and more.
Launched in October 2020 for its close-beta testing, KALARO was launched by The-AsiaGroup.com Inc. as a fully integrated end-to-end esports digital platform. The application includes features like tournament management, one-on-one challenges, and team competitions as well as coaching, and buy-ins, among others.
Almost one year after, we touched base with its Founder & CEO Jun D. Lasco to get to know how much it has grown since its entry into the industry – the platform itself and its vision and mission – and ultimately, after delta and beta testing for the period, finally, the launch of its first public version 1.0.
KALARO, the esports super app by the Filipino for the Filipino gamers
Jun turns to a study similarly by Newzoo wherein 100,000 gamers across the globe were surveyed and discovered the three main motivations behind getting into esports: to unwind and relax, to engage in some form of competition, and interestingly, the social aspect of the game.
“More than providing a digital platform, one of our core missions and advocacies is being actively part in helping the youth in their mental health issues…and hopefully, KALARO will be one of the major platforms, social platforms, where they can engage socially, and compete, and be able to [have a sense of achievement], and unwind and have fun,” said Jun in the MARKETECH Spotlight interview.
Today, KALARO is an esports super app with online tournament management integrated into its own video hub, brand integration, and social networking capabilities and with its very own e-wallet.
KALARO is the Filipino term for playmate, and true to its origins, the platform carries the mission of bringing out the world-class talent in every Filipino stakeholder in the industry which includes the caster, gamer or player, team, the tournament organizer, and brand-product creator, for them to discover and be discovered by others.
“And again, we’d like to showcase KALARO as a world-class product and a product that all the stakeholders in the industry can really benefit from,” said Jun.
Releasing KALARO’s public version 1.0
So after a year since it was piloted, we asked, is KALARO now ready to launch its public version 1.0?
Jun answers a firm yes.
After beta- and delta- testing since October, and with now more than 7,800 gamers on the platform doing it on a nationwide scale, KALARO is ready for the next stage, officially launching its public version this September 2021 to start its journey towards its first one million users.
“Yes, definitely, we’re ready to launch version 1.0. This is the first public release of version 1.0. of KALARO. [We’ve been] fine-tuning the application [since] October last year [up until] end of August [this year]. And we are now ready to package version 1.0 and release it starting September 18,” revealed Jun.
Jun said that the goal has always been about bringing a world-class app with a solid product-market-fit, which is why it took the company almost a year before it launched its public version.
Launching KALARO in October 2020 was far from an easy feat, where Jun revealed the challenges they had to go through before they launched the beta version in the middle of the pandemic.
“The beta launch is very significant, because it was really challenging, working together in a virtual environment,” shared Jun.
Right off the bat, the predicament that the KALARO team had to face was not being together physically and communicating while being from different parts of the country. Like the proverbial genius working in their garage, KALARO was developing and programming the platform in the night.
Soon, following the beta launch, KALARO had 750 gamers to close-beta-test the platform, and from their feedback, the real fine-tuning began. And now here one year after, KALARO is growing from strength to strength.
After the public version is launched this September, Jun reveals, “We will have a very aggressive set of activities and campaigns for the last quarter of this year, so that the market [of almost] 50 million gamers and our fans would realize the benefits and the value that make KALARO really enjoyable.”
The mission and vision of KALARO
One year after its official foray into the esports scene, we touched base on how KALARO sees its role in the lives of gamers and Filipinos.
At its core, KALARO was built to give every gamer an equal opportunity to learn, be discovered, and gain mastery, and most of all, to have fun and to also present opportunities to earn a living. But as a super app, KALARO isn’t now merely attending to the hunger for esports action but has moved to become so much more for its users.
Jun summarizes KALARO’s mission in the three major areas: financial wellness, mental health, and most of all, national pride.
Jun shared that the goal is to develop a platform that would serve gamers’ financial wellness because as Jun puts it when someone becomes a member of KALARO, the platform would want to provide a facility and features that will help people earn extra money.
“That’s why we have our own e-wallet and are partnering with UnionBank [of the Philippines], and so on. Financial wellness is very important,” said Jun.
With esports and social platforms cited as beneficial channels to manage mental health, this has become one of KALARO’s main advocacies. Jun says KALARO is like a Facebook for gamers
“KALARO being like the Facebook for gamers will allow gamers to really socialize, interact, [and] enjoy freedom in the games that they love,” said Jun.
Above all, as a team in a country where there aren’t yet many tech innovations, putting the Philippines on the map will always be a mission. In fact, in April 2021, KALARO has begun to see its hard work and talent pay off, being named as one of the top 5 esports startups in Asia in the Esports X Business Asia Summit (EXB Asia Summit), held in Singapore.
KALARO represented the Philippines among a sea of companies from top tech innovator countries Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States. In addition to this, KALARO has also successfully secured a partnership with multinational technology company for gaming, Razer, in June 2021.
“As they say, when you create a product, or when you create a service, there has to be a deep meaning as to why you’re actually building it. And again, from October last year, we have received lots of feedback and lots of suggestions, and we adapted the product of KALARO to be able to really connect to the market, and [to meet] the needs and aspirations of the gamer,” said Jun.
What’s next for KALARO?
KALARO’s growth trajectory is obviously on a promising level, and so beyond the launch of the public version, begs the question, what else is on KALARO’s future plans?
As an end-to-end esports platform, KALARO doesn’t only answer to gamers, taking a whole lot of other stakeholders within the community as the platform’s priority. Aside from the gamers, KALARO caters to streamers, casters, team managers and owners, league and tournament operators, and corporate brands.
“Since KALARO is a super app, by design, each of these stakeholders has a special role and participation inside KALARO,” said Jun.
He further shares that building an all-in-one platform has always been the objective especially in the Philippines and even in Southeast Asia as a whole where the market isn’t necessarily tech-savvy.
“You know, when we were conceptualizing KALARO, and we were going through the process of design thinking, focus group discussion, mind mapping, and so on, we really made sure that we will be able to build a holistic [and] an all-in-one solution for the esports industry. Especially here in Asia, or Southeast Asia, in particular, it could be very difficult for the stakeholders to be using say, five different applications just to be able to actively participate.”
He adds, “And the major motivations for vendors and players to participate are all inside KALARO.”
As a super app for esports, Jun shares the upcoming developments within the platform in line with its mission – and even more.
For one, the platform has partnered with one of the leading banks in the country, UnionBank, to boost KALARO’s financial service offerings. More interestingly, Jun shared that on this front, it’s not a distant possibility that there would be a Visa card for KALARO soon and even an insurance offering.
Still in line with its mission for financial inclusion, Jun also revealed that KALARO is looking into crypto- and blockchain-related features and services within the platform. Due to the growing interest of the younger generation in cryptocurrency, Jun says that KALARO is sure to leverage the power of cryptocurrency, where NFT and blockchain will be part of the roadmap.
In terms of the social aspect, KALARO will be exploring live video and voice calling features in order to heighten the experience of playing together.
“So imagine if a student or a young person in the Philippines can play with his dad, or kuya (brother) somewhere abroad, and they can interact live or play together and do other things,” said Jun.
Other than the fact that KALARO is disrupting tech in the Philippines, what is truly inspiring and makes KALARO the platform to be is above all, its advocacies to the stakeholders, who are mostly the younger generation.
“We really want to give all the chances in the world for every Pinoy and level the playing field. Even if you are not in the country’s major cities, we believe that there are huge hidden talents across the over 7,000 islands in the country,” said Jun.
“When you join KALARO, you will have instant visibility even if you are 5,000 miles away from the nation’s capital. KALARO will give you that online presence and opportunity to be seen and participate,” added Jun.
Listen to the full conversation between MARKETECH APAC’s Regional Editor Shaina Teope and KALARO’s Founder & CEO Jun D. Lasco on Spotify:
Singapore – To commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day, which is celebrated on 10 September, creative agency TBWA\Singapore has partnered with Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), the non-profit suicide prevention center, to launch a new product that breaks the silence around mental health.
Called ‘The Honest Cookie’, each cookie is baked with a different question inside to help initiate conversations around peoples’ feelings and how they are coping during difficult times, allowing people to come together and share what’s truly on their minds.
Through ‘The Honest Cookie’, SOS hopes to reach out to the more vulnerable groups such as the elderly, to help them re-connect with their loved ones and those who can support them in times of need.
The outreach campaign also includes a series of social media content and on-ground engagements that will run in September 2021.
Amid the pandemic, stressors such as drastic changes in lifestyle routines, social withdrawal, and financial worries, have created a sense of hopelessness. But many people find it difficult to have honest conversations and be open about their true feelings, keeping their worries and emotions to themselves, and stopping them from getting the help they need. According to SOS, in 2020, Singapore has reported 452 people who had died by suicide, with an increase in number observed across all age groups.
“We often do not realize how a simple act of concern can create a huge impact and potentially change someone’s life. We can start by showing our loved ones that we care by initiating a conversation and providing a listening ear,” said Gasper Tan, SOS’ chief executive officer.
Asheen Naidu, TBWA\Singapore’s global creative director, shared that they wanted to create a tool that guides people to have conversations about their mental health in a natural way and begin normalizing this important behavior.
“With mealtimes being the most common time for people to get together, we decided to develop a light snack that initiates heavy conversations – helping us shift from a culture of silence to one of openness and empathy,” said Naidu.
‘The Honest Cookie’ will be distributed across various community centers, social service centers, and corporate organizations, while customers can receive a free cookie when they make a purchase via foodpanda across all LiHO outlets.
For those who receive ‘The Honest Cookie’, they are also encouraged to share their experience of breaking the cookie with their loved ones via social media, to help create awareness of the #HonestCookieSG campaign.
They can simply post a public photo or video on their Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube account, sharing their experience of breaking open ‘The Honest Cookie’ and having an open conversation with someone else, as well as a simple description in the caption. They can also include the hashtag #HonestCookieSG and tag three friends.
Moreover, people can donate an honest cookie for just S$2 via giving.sg to fund an honest conversation.
Manila, Philippines – The Dove brand in the Philippines, together with the Filipino arm of global creative agency Ogilvy, didn’t pass up on the world’s celebration of mental health in October, leveraging its brand on women empowerment to cook up an inspirational ad on Instagram stories.
The Instagram story mimics peoples’ usual scrolling on a Facebook feed showing posts from different women. The ad pauses mid-story to simply show a black screen, allowing for the viewer’s face to reflect on her phone.
An encouraging voice in the background says, “Take this time to take a look at yourself.”
“To appreciate your eyes, your nose, and lips; every detail you may have overlooked,” it would continue.
Ogilvy said over three million came across the story. Marketing Director for Dove Ann Esteves also shared that the Blackout Mirror initiative registered an ad recall lift of 6.59%, exceeding benchmarks of both manufacturer Unilever Philippines and the local industry.
“It served as a powerful reminder to look at yourself with care. The people behind the brand is determined to continue its efforts to help address self-esteem issues with education and tools for parents, mentors, and youth leaders,” said Esteves.
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