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Native advertising: The Smart Local shares more on its partnership with Sony and Canon

This was a sponsored post by The Smart Local under the Master Report series. 

CASE STUDY: Sony Mobile’s Xperia XZ Premium

Sony Mobile’s Xperia XZ Premium features the world’s first super slow-mo, a 4K HDR display and a 19-megapixel camera. It has no lack of USPs, but people have long grown desensitised to specifications. So how do we make an ad for SONY so viral, even non-Android users would notice it?

The solution: Building a campaign around native advertising from ground zero.

With a history of viral travelogues, we had the full support from Sony to boldly conceptualise and execute a four-part vlog series on YouTube called TSL Goes from Singapore to London Over Land. We ditched planes and left our DSLRs behind, and embarked on a 37- day rail adventure where we filmed everything between Woodlands Checkpoint and London with the Xperia XZ Premium phone.

The series reached more than a million people, and counting, across Singapore’s biggest online channels, and the enormous publicity it engineered greatly outweighed the high travel costs.

Paid media can never match the ROI of content that’s able to go viral organically.

It amazed viewers the Xperia XZ Premium was capable of professional videography standards to rival a DSLR, and created conversations and envy around the product.

The biweekly releases built up to offline activations where fans of the series could interact with the crew as they delivered dialogue sessions at Sony’s partner telcos, and photography/ videography workshops at Funan Showsuite where the product was put into our viewers’ hands on an experiential photo walk.

The stumbling block to native advertising lies in the dissonance between marketers’ campaigns and the content strategy needed for virality. With the freedom to formulate a campaign from scratch, we invented something we knew could go viral, and pulled it off with enormous success across Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

Watch it here:


When Canon launched the PIXMA E560, they wanted to highlight its ink efficiency and wireless printing capability. But telling university kids about the money they can save on printing their lecture notes is not sexy. People consume content to be entertained, not to be reminded of work and school. To reach this core audience, TSL produced a short film which told the love story of two NTU students, whose chance encounter in the school hall – thanks to the E560 printer – progressed into a long distance relationship after the male lead went to study for a semester overseas.

The video resonated with many among Canon’s target audience, and its response was every advertiser’s dream – reaching more than 1.3 million people on Facebook organically over a weekend with more than 10,000 engagements. Viewers praised Canon’s fresh and creative approach to advertising, and some even tagged their friends to remark in jest how the E560 could help them find Mr Right.

The four-minute video’s success not only broke the cliché of hard-selling electronics, but also the widespread misconception among marketers that videos on Facebook have to be short. At the same time, its positive sentiments proved that people respond well to marketing if it’s part of good content, and made many realise that when native advertising is done well, even printers can pull at the heartstrings and touch millions.

Watch it here:

Read also:

The Master Report: The Smart Local talks about going native in the red dot

Native Advertising: A guide of native advertising in Singapore