Manulife SG entices fans to head out with online sneaker drop

Manulife Singapore has taken a rather unconventional route in its latest marketing stunt marrying insurance with sneakers. Rolling out an online sneaker drop which will run from 31 August until 4 October, featuring seven pairs of iconic and sought-after sneakers including Nike, Off-White, and Supreme, the latest campaigns comes after its recent survey in June revealed that 65% of Singaporeans are still not confident to head outside. 

In line with the Singapore government's phased approach for all to resume activities safely, the Manulife Singapore Online Sneaker Drop aims to give Singaporeans the motivation to step outside safely and confidently. To join, participants have to answer a series of simple weekly questions for a chance to win the weekly limited-edition sneakers. In order to attempt to find the right answers to the weekly questions, participants are urged to head out and about the neighbourhoods in a safe and responsible manner with masks on while maintaining social distancing.

The winning sneakers will be revealed on the Manulife Singapore Online Sneaker Draw webpage and on its Facebook and Instagram pages. Fans can sign up via the web page and each week's draw ends on Saturday at 7pm, with winners selected at random via an online webinar on Sunday at 8.30pm. The first week of the campaign sees the Nike Supreme Air Force 1 Low White up for grabs. The webinar lucky draw will be held on 6 September and will be hosted by Chua En Lai together with The Muttons.

week 1 drop

Cheryl Lim, Manulife Singapore's head of branding, communications and sponsorships told Marketing that the campaign is supported by digital efforts spanning social media publicity, content partnerships and Google ads targeting. According to Lim, the roll-out platforms were intentionally selected to connect with an audience who has exponentially embraced digital channels in this time. Agencies such as AKA Asia and Tribal DDB, and event partner Lighthouse Events Singapore, were involved in the campaign.

Although Lim declined to reveal the monetary investment for the campaign, she said a campaign is only as good as the result that it is able to generate, based on the set objective. Getting buy-in from the management boiled down to demonstrating how the campaign could hit the same mark of driving leads while creating brand affinity, even under a differently-sized operating budget, she explained.

"This campaign required deep research and careful planning to create a campaign that had a rational but striking hook, and was relevant enough to reach a substantial audience - in our case, the sneaker-wearing population. Working backwards, we were able to land on a creative idea supported by data to show vast lead-generation potential," Lim said. According to her, this was the crucial piece of the puzzle to eliciting votes of confidence amongst the decision makers.

When asked why Manulife chose to centre the campaign around sneakers, Lim explained that one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic experienced by all walks of life is the limitation of movement - a phenomenon that has transformed people’s sense of normalcy, of community and of shared experiences. Regardless of how individuals have dealt with the change and what they think of it, everyone has a point of view on the matter and Manulife wanted to lead that conversation.

Tune in: Check out the Marketing Connected podcast series on Spotify to hear Lim's views on marketing and her journey as a marketer.

"Sneakers are an intrinsic representation of movement and hence made for a rational and relevant motif to anchor the campaign on. The use of sneakers, while not inherently connected to insurance, is our way of demonstrating awareness over our customers' concerns in this unprecedented season," Lim said. She added that Manulife's goal is to be a trusted partner in every leg of life and in this challenging time, the campaign - from messaging to mechanics - is an effort to meet people where they are at, both physically and psychologically.

The team seeks to see ROI unfold on two levels. This entails the the fulfilment of immediate financial objectives via lead generation, balanced with an equally important priority of growing long-term brand affinity and loyalty.

When asked how the latest campaign ties in with Manulife's overall marketing strategy for the year, Lim explained that in response to the pandemic, it has definitely had to reassess its marketing strategy for the year and pivot to the tune of evolving consumer behaviour brought about the unusual times. "As Singaporeans adopt a cautionary approach to 'resuming' life, our efforts will continue to be digital-led, tapping on the hyper-connective capabilities of the online world to reach our audience as they spend more time at home," she added.

Besides establishing a strong digital presence, Manulife is also actively keeping its finger on the market pulse and will be ready to meaningfully engage with consumers across a cohesive mix of channels as more gain confidence to embrace life in the new normal. Manulife Singapore's chief customer office Darren Thompson said it is the company's hope that the winners will wear their new kicks proudly as they take a "Singapoliday" to explore the island and support local businesses. "This is part of our brand promise of giving people the confidence to make the right decisions that can improve their outlook on life at every moment of every day," he added.

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