DBS Bank has unveiled the second season of its web mini-series, Sparks, bringing onboard local veteran actors Adrian Pang, Tan Kheng Hua and Darryl Yong. Themed “Everyday Heroes for a Better World”, DBS aims to address pressing social and environmental issues of the day such as plastic pollution, food waste as well as social inequality through the mini-series.
DBS earlier shared its initiative to “Recycle more, Waste less”, an eco-movement launched in 2018, by working with tech vendors to reuse and reduce packaging for its electronic items. Over the course of this movement, the bank partnered with the Singapore Environment Council and four supermarket chains in December 2018 to launch a campaign to reduce plastic bag usage among shoppers, resulting in DBS distributing nearly 30,000 reusable bags.
DBS has been pushing for more initiatives as part of it eco-friendly efforts, and explained that Sparks is another way of conveying the message to the greater public. Speaking exclusively to Marketing, Karen Ngui, head of group strategic marketing and communications at DBS said the bank worked with social enterprises – Evoware from Indonesia, Bettr Barista from Singapore and Eco-Greenergy from Hong Kong – to contribute stories of major sustainability challenges facing the world.
With DBS fronting itself as a purposeful brand, Ngui said that being purpose-driven has always been part of the bank’s DNA and its drive to embed sustainability into the organisation is organised under three pillars – responsible banking, responsible business practices and creating social impact. DBS also introduced a hybrid metal cutlery shaped like a spoon and a fork at either end named “DBS Sporks”, which was distributed across restaurants and food centres across Singapore over a span of 50 days.
According to Kantar’s Purpose in Asia report, consumers in Asia want brands that engage in social issues – provided these are the causes that matter to them personally. About 90% of consumers in the region and 86% in Singapore want brands to get involved in the issues they care about, meaning that an authentic brand purpose is now an expectation as opposed to a bonus.
The bank’s vision is to shape a better future for Asia, said Ngui.”The DBS Foundation focuses on building a more inclusive Asia by championing social entrepreneurship and encouraging the development of businesses for good. The Foundation is an endeavour from DBS Bank to make an even greater impact in addressing Asia’s evolving social needs,” she added. The bank also has pledged a SG$50 million fund to support the growth of social enterprises across Asia.
The bank launched an in-house content studio named DBS Sparks Studio in January, aimed at “serving as an interactive space for communities” be it internal staff members or social enterprises or public interest groups. When asked by Marketing at the time, if this was an indication that the brand would be making a bigger push into content this year with the launch of Sparks Studio, Ngui said the studio marks as a “first” for the bank.
The Sparks musical was launched in August last year when the bank brought content marketing to life by commissioning a musical based on the 10 episodes. According to DBS, since Sparks’ 2016 debut, the 10 episodes of the first season have collectively garnered more than 250 million views and over 24 million digital engagements across the region.
Watch the first episode of Sparks season two here: