5 brand campaigns in SG that broke through the content marketing clutter

5 brand campaigns in SG that broke through the content marketing clutter

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Living in the golden era of content today has made content marketing a staple in the marketing business. In the past two years, the art of storytelling has matured and so did the creativity of some of the best marketers in the business. Showcasing all-encompassing campaigns from social media to gutsy in-person activations content marketing truly showcases some of the industry's most creative minds. Globally, over half (58%) of respondents to Content Marketing Institute’s 2022 report said their content marketing strategy is moderate or slightly different now versus pre-pandemic. Brands are also now working on more daily and authentic content for brand awareness and trust. 

Over the last year, many marketers also say that they have been asked to do more with the same resources. Half of all respondents said it has become increasingly difficult to capture their audience’s attention. The most successful marketers are more likely to prioritise the audience’s informational needs, differentiate their content from the competition, and craft content based on specific stages of the buyer’s journey.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE turned to our results for Marketing Excellence Awards Singapore 2022 to find out which content marketing campaigns impressed the judging panel. These were the top five brands, judged by our esteemed client side marketers, that dazzled with their out-of-the-box content marketing campaigns.

1. Central Provident Fund Board

The Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) is on mission to enable Singaporeans to save for a secure retirement through lifelong income, healthcare financing and, home financing. It launched its #YouGrillWeSpill: Honest Talks with CPF campaign to spark conversations among young Singaporeans about retirement. The campaign welcomed questions from young adults about achieving lifelong goals with the promise of open and honest answers. At the same time aiming to raise awareness about how CPF can help them in their retirement journey.

Having the aim to challenge assumptions, address queries, and honestly answer its young people concerns through influencers allowed CPF to reach outside its usual audience base. The use of influencers disarmed audiences and helped them to relate while experts were on hand to educate and guide them on their questions.

The core of its campaign was to be bold enough to take on criticism and not shy away from detractors or difficult questions in order to connect with young Singaporeans and create authentic two-way relationships.

Its message, "You GRILL and we SPILL", was accompanied by the visual elements of a BBQ throughout the campaign to once again disarm its audience and create a sense of familiarity and lightheartedness for what is traditionally a very serious subject.

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The campaign was launched in three phases - you grill, we spill and we continue. For the "you grill" phase, TikTok creators and Instagram influencers gathered questions on their own channels and sparked conversations in different content formats that are highly relatable to their target audience. For "you spill", CPF paired influencers with its experts and minister of manpower Dr. Tan See Leng to answer questions from young Singaporeans about achieving their life goals. While educating them on the benefits of CPF. Meanwhile, "we continue" expanded on those questions and answers from grill and spill to develop a series of explainer videos and content pieces by the CPF team to sustain members' interests.

A total of seven TikTok creators, three Instagram influencers and two content partners were engaged to share their dream retirement, passion, life goals, and the role that CPF plays in those plans. Gnarring a reach of over 8.9 million across CPF’s own channels on Facebook and Instagram and its influencers' platforms on TikTok and Instagram. Its video also received over 10 million views across its platforms and more than 300k interactions including likes, comments and shares.

2. Citibank Singapore

The five C’s – cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club – defined wealth to Singaporeans for decades. However, times are changing, and Singaporeans are making the transition into an elevated level of financial security to aspire for something more.

For a bank that has been around in Asia for 120 years, change is tough, but Citi knew that its longevity was a result of its ability to adapt to the ups and downs of the global economy. Embracing the concept of “new wealth” – a vision of wealth that transcends the material and focuses on passion, achievement and family – was the key to continuing to be one of the region’s preferred wealth management banks.

The underlying thought behind the “There’s More to Wealth” messaging platform was that wealth isn’t just about the dollars and cents in your account. It was a chance for Citigold to drive the message that wealth is something that can only be defined on your own terms. This was the strategic foundation of Citigold’s new campaign.

The campaign celebrated people who defined wealth in their own special ways. Shining a spotlight on how Singaporeans were redefining the concept of wealth, to show that Citigold not just understood their unique views and needs, but sought to empower more people to discover their own definition of wealth. It saw a branded video content piece in the form of an original mini-series as the heart of the campaign.

Called “Hidden Riches”, the series consisted of six episodes. Each episode focused on the story of one individual and how they dedicated their life to a certain passion, an achievement or family. The videos, which were primarily shared on social and digital media, were complemented by outdoor ads featuring the individuals spotlighted in the mini-series.

Citigold also engaged with thought leaders and KOLs on social media to create custom, thought-provoking content that inspired conversations aimed at rethinking wealth. They were written from the authors’ points-of-view, exploring the topics of meaningful, purposeful wealth as it relates to their unique life stages and personal circumstances.

Total views for video content rolled out during the campaign reached over 6 million views and a Nielsen post-campaign report revealed that 80% of respondents reported seeing the campaign – a clear indication of high campaign awareness. The campaign also raised brand preference for the brand among those exposed to the work. The content marketing execution also saw search volume for Citigold’s branded keyword soar. 

3. Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

In anticipation of increasing 995 calls in 2021 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, it was ever more important to educate the public to differentiate between an emergency from a non-emergency. The Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) campaign period coincided with the transition phase of Singapore’s COVID-19 measures last November.

With an objective to help Singaporeans better define situations that were considered emergencies, and with online content viewership increasing due to COVID, SCDF was confident that longer-form reality content was an opportunity for more holistic messaging. Tapping into the gameshow format, it found a way to get consumers to virtually participate and learn alongside content creators. Additionally, it looked to leverage on humorous content to help drive maximum entertainment and recall; a formula it saw working to drive memorability and virality for the jingle it wrote in year 2019 and 2020.

Emergencies and non-emergencies happen to everyone regardless of age and gender. Hence, it is imperative that the choice of SCDF’s content partners cover across both the young adults and the older audience segments aged 50 years old and above. SGAG was the bedrock content partner as they have high affinity among the younger audiences in addition to the continuity of cast and treatment from year 2019 and 2020. The addition of King Kong Media (KKM) complemented the audience reach with their strong following among the family units and older segments. This provided the springboard in for its advertising to appear as natively as possible with a content treatment that their audiences can relate to. This relatability was a key ingredient for the campaign to go viral.

From the outset, the video content produced by SGAG and KKM were the core assets that were adapted to social, digital audio, programmatic video and out-of-home touchpoints. These were adapted to 60 seconds thru play teasers to drive traffic to SCDF’s YouTube channel to watch the full-length gameshow videos. In particular, the SGAG posts generated a high volume of comments, shares and reactions.

Targeting the younger audiences aged 15 to 49, it spliced out a rap chorus from the video to adapt to a 30-second jingle supplemented with a display overlay. This achieved a high completion rate, said the company. Across multiple video platforms (YouTube, SpotX, Unruly) and formats (pre-roll, instream and outstream), engagement rate remained high at 75% to 80% view-through rate. Despite the challenging conditions facing the Emergency Medical Services response team in 2021, the overall non-emergency and false alarm calls saw a decrease by almost 300 cases.

This campaign successfully delivered 1.7 million views. From an owned media perspective, SCDF’s YouTube channel received a combined 650,000 views from both organic and paid traffic. Earned media also achieved a healthy return of 100,000 engagements.

4. Singtel

With 5G being an entirely new tech as a result of limited use cases, and category communications by industry players and telcos only pushing the narrative of its possible futuristic application, Singtel wanted to redefine and rethink how it packaged Singtel 5G functional attributes in an emotionally resonant way that is accessible for all.

The campaign, "Power Up Singapore" with Singtel 5G, was born. Instead of just communicating a technical expression of what 5G can do, Singtel created a multi-touchpoint campaign where both Singaporeans and enterprises could feel the power of Singtel 5G for themselves and share that transformative experience.

Singtel launched 5G by partnering with Sentosa to bring travel-hungry Singaporeans new ways of experiencing a popular local destination, all Powered Up by Singtel 5G. It also powered up adjacent lifestyle sectors in Singapore, to enhance arts and cultural experiences. To extend the reach of its campaign, it created social content to drive the discovery of its 5G-powered experiences and enlisted the help of KOLs and communities to stimulate interest amongst multiple audiences with various interests and needs.

Instead of another keynote event, it launched via a live virtual media event that was entirely powered by Singtel 5G. Through its use of extended reality technology and Singtel’s low-latency 5G connections, it also allowed enterprise customers to tangibly experience and witness the power of Singtel 5G.

To convince consumers that Singtel is the most powerful 5G network and the network of choice, its content pillars focused on the productivity, entertainment and connectivity that Singtel 5G brought to life through an experiential strategy making it relevant and relatable for consumers.

To bring to life how Singtel powers up everyday life, its integrated campaign was crafted into three key tenets. Each tenet was targeted at addressing different audience segment needs and concerns, and featured multiple touchpoints and channels to achieve its objectives.

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Firstly, the campaign aimed to educate and inspire the Singaporean masses. To educate and inspire the sceptical Singaporean about the applications of Singtel 5G, it kicked off its Singtel 5G relaunch campaign by partnering with Sentosa to give the latter's favourite attractions a new Singtel 5G powered spin. At Southside Sentosa it collaborated with Formula Square to deliver an on-ground immersive, lag-free experience racing remote-controlled cars powered by 5G.

Meanwhile, the 4K Live Streaming of S.E.A. Aquarium allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the aquatic wonders of the aquarium in vivid 4K resolution via Singtel 5G livestream at UNBOXED, Singtel’s unmanned pop-up retail store. Simultaneously a social media contest paired the benefits of 5G with popular attractions in Sentosa that got Singaporeans playing and learning about Singtel 5G.

On the B2B front for enterprise customers, Singtel launched via a virtual press event that was entirely powered by Singtel 5G to showcase the tangible benefits of Singtel 5G, allowing them to experience and witness the possible applications for businesses.

Before the event, it curated "power up" themed press kits to give its media and enterprise partners everything they needed to experience the 5G-powered virtual event and try Singtel 5G for themselves. To kick off with a bang, it featured Josephine Teo, minister of communications and information and IMDA’s chief executive Lew Chuen Hong being "teleported" into the venue via Singtel’s 5G network. Their high-resolution likenesses were beamed from a separate location, and they could "interact" seamlessly with each other. The idea was to allow all of the participants to witness and experience the network’s ultra-low latency and large bandwidth for themselves.

Finally, beyond just speaking to the masses, it activated a network of niche communities to showcase more applications of Singtel 5G. It powered up the E-Cities Championships and showed how the Singtel 5G’s ultra-fast and ultrasecure network can help gamers take their entertainment to new levels.

As a final push to drive home the message of how Singtel 5G is for everyone, it extended its reach to other communities with KOLs ranging from content creators, 5G subject matter experts, and Singtel fans, to get them to educate their followers about the possible everyday use cases, and drive them to experience Singtel 5G at any of its activations.

Lastly, it collaborated with National Gallery Singapore and delivered immersive AR art experiences to the heartlands, allowing Singaporeans to experience art through augmented reality that were made ultra-smooth and ultra-responsive with Singtel 5G. The telco saw more than five million people reached in total from all its different experiential events as well as an increase in Singtel 5G product page lands from the campaign effort.

5. Viu

To stand out in Singapore's crowded streaming space, Viu decided to launch a campaign to regain K-drama supremacy for its Viu original drama, Again My Life.

In a Nielsen study, 83% of respondents indicated that they trust the recommendations of friends and family. Viu took this to heart and made it a key part of its content marketing strategy, saving its KOL budget and focusing instead on word-of-mouth marketing to leverage the power of a free, organic and authentic K-drama base. The streaming platform wanted to engage fans to become more than passive viewers and convert them into highly engaged fan ambassadors.

It kicked off the campaign by inviting 8,000 Lee Joon Gi and Viu fans to watch the premiere of Again My Life at Zouk. A packed house of ardent fans acted as Viu’s organic nano-influencers, creating a constant flow of authentic conversations. Viu rewarded fans for promoting the show and in turn leveraged the user-generated content to create organic traffic and ROI.

Secondly, it focused on experiential marketing by removing its own branding to bring viewers an immersive time travel experience for a fictitious brand. It secretly programmed an aging reversal AR filter into the camera on the Neuromeka Cobot, which turned unsuspecting shoppers into "babyface" versions. The shoppers all thought they were posing for a red carpet photo. The aging reversal AR filter allowed people to experience "time travel", which was a key theme of Again My Life and made it more tangible, engaging and shareable. The activation ended with an invitation to watch the drama on Viu.

Thousands fell for the prank in person but Viu brought it to millions more by creating a one-minute video for social media for those that couldn’t experience it. The video had over 1.6 million impressions, over a million views and reach of over 300,000.

To round out its campaign, Viu put the cherry on the cake by gamifying time travel and crime solving the central tenants of its drama. It used AR to send Singaporeans back to the 90s to gather clues and solve a crime where players could win prizes each week. This was supported in parallel with 360 Omni Coverage for both online-to-offline and offline-to-online. In the end, the success of Viu’s content marketing was evident as Again My Life doubled in views compared to average views of other K-dramas on Viu TV and became the number one driver of premium conversions on its platform.

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