Akshit Pushkarna

“With Tuffies, we direct more targeted awareness on improving respiratory care amongst children”: Dr Vikas Gupta, Cipla

Cipla introduced a comic book, Tuffies, in May as a campaign “to inform and entertain in a language and format that children can relate to.”

During the 'World Asthma Awareness month' this May, Cipla launched its general patient & public  awareness initiative – ‘Tuffies’. Tuffies campaign is targeted at engaging children  between the ages 5 through 10 yrs of age and their caregivers. Sonali Bendre launched the campaign by  unveiling the Tuffies Comic Book and introducing the Tuffies Team, a group of relatable, young, adventurous  characters. 

The Tuffies Comic Book features - Vicky, an aspiring detective who lives with asthma but does not let it hold  him back, along with his sister Mini, best friend Gullu and Vicky’s trusted companion Mr. Puffy. These  characters will remain central to the Tuffies campaign. 

While the campaign launches with the comic book, an animated video series is to follow.  Sharing his views on the significance that this campaign holds for Cipla, Dr Vikas Gupta, India Business Rx Head, Cipla, had a word with afaqs!.

Edited Excerpts:

What has been Cipla's approach for marketing their inhalers in recent times? What sort of success have they seen from the overall awareness campaigns that they have focused on off lateO

Over the past six decades, our dedication to respiratory care has made us leaders in the field. Consistently guided by our purpose of ‘Caring for Life’, our endeavour is to go beyond the pill and help patients lead healthier lives. 

To that effect, our efforts across our campaigns whether its Tuffies or Berok Zindagi is solely for the purpose of public/patient awareness. Our marketing efforts through these campaigns are purely meant to help those suffering from chronic respiratory illnesses including asthma, to take control of their condition. Through empowerment, education, and engagement, our singular aim has been to help patients breathe better.   

The latest phase of the Berok Zindagi campaign, which was championed by the #InhalersHainSahi film received 25 CR views across digital channels. The Breathefree program has counselled more than 30Lakh patients across the country and India’s 1st digital educator for helping patients learn correct inhalation technique i.e., the Breathefree Digital Educator, helps about 20,000 patients every month, with counsel delivered in seven languages. 

Now with Tuffies, we go deeper into patient cohorts, directing more targeted awareness on improving respiratory care amongst children, including those living with asthma. Through this initiative it is our hope to create a positive change in perception about chronic respiratory diseases like asthma and its treatment, empowering kids to rise above the limitations of their condition while helping parents unlock their children's full potential!

What sort of ROI is the brand expecting from this from the 'Tuffies' comic? Is getting a comic book for your kid something that a parent might do in the world of mobile games and social media? 

Our focus with Tuffies continues to be on promoting and improving respiratory care in kids, as well as empowering them and their support system in that goal. Our ROI here is determined on whether we have been able to drive even a slight shift in behaviour and perception about asthma and its treatment. 

In fact, following the latest phase of Berok Zindagi, we carried out a study on consumer awareness. The results revealed a significant shift, with approximately 60% of parents now trusting the safety and suitability of inhalers for their children. This encouraging finding serves as motivation for us to intensify our efforts in promoting patient awareness. Our aim is to empower asthmatics nationwide, enabling them to gain a comprehensive understanding of their condition and take charge of their health. 

Tuffies is a great example of how customised creative storytelling can be used to effectively reach out and connect to an audience. With Tuffies, it is our mission to help children with chronic respiratory conditions including asthma achieve their true potential, while also helping parents combat misinformation, and enable them to make informed decisions about their child’s care. 

Our goal with this campaign is to inform and entertain in a language and format that children can relate to. The future of Tuffies does include animated video series and other engaging multimedia formats. However, we firmly believe that a comic book is an exceptional method to introduce our characters and raise awareness about a health condition that affects approximately 8% of the country's young population. Our target audience, children aged 5 to 10 years and their caregivers, will find this comic book format engaging and informative.

An elaboration on the patient awareness campaign, Berok Zindagi, for Cipla. How has the brand worked on building the narrative behind this campaign? 

With the #BerokZindagi campaign, we have been running one of the largest patient awareness initiatives for asthma. Our efforts have focused on creating awareness through social conversations, dispelling myths and stigma to promote acceptance of inhalers, and providing knowledge to educate patients about the benefits of inhalation therapy and correct inhaler usage.

We have collaborated with asthmatic and non-asthmatic celebrities to challenge misconceptions and social stigmas surrounding inhalers while initiating discussions about asthma. Our aim is to raise awareness about asthma and emphasise the crucial role inhalers play in managing the condition effectively, with the goal of achieving early diagnosis, timely intervention, and improved patient outcomes. 

Over half a decade, with Berok Zindagi we have leveraged digital, PR, radio, cinema, TV, and other BTL activities to drive the message around ‘Asthma Ke Liye, Inhalers Hain Sahi’ for addressing social stigma and debunking myths around Inhalers. 

An elaboration on the creative process behind the #InhalersHainSahi ad film, which came out in March. What sort of ad campaigns can we see from Cipla for their inhalers?

The sole objective of our campaigns, be it Tuffies or Berok Zindagi, is to raise public/patient awareness . Our films and marketing endeavors are solely dedicated to inspiring individuals with chronic respiratory illnesses, including asthma, in gaining control over their condition through empowerment, education, and engagement. 

Following the launch of the heartwarming #InhalersHainSahi song, we wanted to create a film that tugged at the viewers heartstrings and relayed a message of inspiration to those living with asthma. Depicting the story of a little girl who overcame her asthma to achieve her dream of becoming a dancer – the film aims to encourage people with asthma to pursue their dreams and live unstoppable lives. The film helps augment the lyrics of our #InhalerHainSahi song and communicates the message more strongly. 

Launched in multiple languages on YouTube, the film traversed the boundaries of language and geography reach an audience of about 9CR. We further extended the reach of this powerful song through social media engaging audiences in formats that are intrinsic to the cultural zeitgeist of today’s generation. 

Moving forward we will continue to engage in multi-media and influencer partnerships so that we can reach out to a diverse audience with more of an emphasis on creative storytelling which will resonate and build recall. 

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