CategoryA05. Best Launch or Re-Launch
Entrant Company TBWA\HAKUHODO Tokyo, JAPAN
Advertising Agency TBWA\HAKUHODO Tokyo, JAPAN

The Campaign

American Home Assurance Company launched a new cancer insurance product that can be purchased by anyone who has had cancer in the past. The goals were to embrace the opportunity for an innovative product launch and to enhance American Home’s brand presence in the cancer insurance market. To achieve these goals, the company intended to build a solid relationship with people who had cancer throughout Japan not only with their products but also with their behavior. The idea was to encourage people to “live positively (i.e., maemuki)”.To get empathy from people with a cancer experience and their supporters across the country, American Home held an across-the-country ekiden event for those who had cancer in the past. An ekiden, which means a marathon relay, is traditionally very popular in Japan because it requires much effort and it builds a bond among the team. Through the relay, we successfully communicated “the joy of living positively” and gained product awareness that resonated with consumers. As a result, 1,104 runners ran 5,872 kilometers in over 129 days. Insurance proposals reached 55,000. According to the survey results, the purchase intention of the people who became aware of the event was 217% compared with the people without any awareness. The event was covered and featured by media in cities across Japan. The total PR exposure on TV, newspapers, and the Internet reached 280 million yen.

The Brief

American Home Assurance Company launched a new cancer insurance product that can be purchased by anyone who has had cancer in the past. By enhancing its presence in the cancer insurance market as a product that was the first of its kind, the goals of the campaign were to build a solid position as a vendor that has a “new cancer insurance product” and to strengthen engagement with the people who have experienced cancer throughout Japan.


The brand accomplished a big project with help from customers: the marathon relay covered 5,872 kilometers with 1,104 runnersin129 days. The media paid close attention to the project, and American Home finally gained approximately280 million yen of PR exposure. The project garnered over 300,000 tweets from supporters online and the number of Facebook fans jumped tenfold compared with the time before the project began. And of course there was a positive impact on business. The number of people who had the intention to buy this insurance doubled and the number of applicants for the new insurance program reached 55,000, an unprecedented high. The biggest achievement, however, was that through this project a lot of people who had cancer regained the courage to live their life positively.


On July 25, 2012, starting from Tokyo, we began an across-the-country marathon relay (ekiden, in Japanese) for former cancer patients selected from the public. An ekiden is a marathon relay that requires endurance and a strong team bond to cross the finish line, and is a popular traditional sport in Japan. Many people throughout the country cheered on the former cancer patients who ran for all their worth to pass a sash to the next runner.Many participating runners, who were deeply moved and felt a sense of accomplishment, posted their experiences on blogs or via SNS. And finally, on October 16 the relay again reached Tokyo.The runners are interviewed by local media of each area. In addition to their cancer experiences, the brand message (maemuki) and the insurance product were continually covered by the media.

The Situation

Due to advances in medicine, cancer is now a disease that can be conquered. At the same time, in recent years more and more people are being rejected by insurance companies because they have had cancer.In 2012, American Home Assurance Company released a new cancer insurance product to accept even those people who had cancer in the past. Our mission was to gain recognition while communicating the significance of the insurance product to former cancer patients.

The Strategy

The new insurance lessens the concern of former cancer patients about their cancer reoccurring. So, we decided to use the message, “Let’s overcome the difficulty— cancer—and get back a forward-looking life.” Instead of executing TVC or newspaper ads to sell the insurance product, we conducted a participatory event for former cancer patients with the aim of encouraging them. We adopted a strategy to generate buzz and sympathy throughout Japan.


Name Company Position
Arata Nabetani Rights Apartment Inc. Producer
Sosuke Kawanishi Rights Apartment Inc. Senior Producer
Atsushi Matsuo Tbwa\hakuhodo Senior Account Director
Kenji Tarukawa Tbwa\hakuhodo Group Account Director
Masayuki Ikenaga Tbwa\hakuhodo Stragetic Planner
Yuichiro Horie Tbwa\hakuhodo Stragetic Planner
Yoshitaka Kobayashi Tbwa\hakuhodo Promotion Planner
Yuka Kubota Tandem Co./Ltd. Producer
Toshiyuki Sai Tandem Co./Ltd. Producer
Itsushi Yasumoto Tandem Co./Ltd. Chief Producer
Chihiro Akimoto Tbwa\hakuhodo Art Director
Hiroyuki Iwase Spoonful Copywriter
Kei Nakamura Tbwa\hakuhodo Copywriter
Chihiro Akimoto Tbwa\hakuhodo Chief Creative Director