#MARKiesAwards 2021 case study: Singtel's bet on traditional media attracts seniors

The digital world is ever-changing and seniors aged 55 years old and above might get left behind as they are unable to effectively navigate the complex world. To prevent the elderly from getting isolated, especially during a time where people were becoming more digitally connected amidst the pandemic, Singtel launched its "Seniors Go Digital" campaign by using familiar aspects of seniors' lives to make sense of something new. This led the brand to win gold for Most Creative - Specific Audience and be ranked a finalist for Most Creative - COVID-19 response at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's MARKies Awards 2021.

Challenge

According to Singtel, seniors aged 55 years and above were not effectively enabled to navigate the digital world. In an increasingly wired society, worsened by the pandemic as online skills were required to stay connected, seniors would feel lost. The telco saw the imminent threat of the elderly seniors becoming isolated, and also observed that other corporations and telecommunication companies only offered typical device donations and cheap data as support solutions. Singtel thus said that it wanted to think of ways to enable seniors so that they will not be left behind.

The brand, therefore, launched its campaign, Seniors Go Digital, based on the insight that “seniors rely on the familiar to make sense of something new”.

Strategy

The telco said that seniors do not fully utilise smartphones and access to the internet, and they “tend to lack confidence and fear ‘losing face” if they ask too many questions. Singtel added that the elderly would rather rely on those closest and familiar to help navigate the digital world.

Using this insight, Singtel positioned itself like a family member or a close family friend that seniors could rely on for answers for their tech-related questions. The campaign sought to provide gold-standard digital services for the silver generation. According to the brand, one of the issues seniors face is the lack of available and effective help.

Singtel also said that besides cheaper mobile devices, mobile plans and data-free WhatsApp, it believed that providing reliable help for seniors was the true gold-standard digital service.

The brand crafted a campaign reminiscent of primetime game shows on TV - a format that would give the target audience “a sense of familiarity while injecting excitement”. Singtel added that the campaign was designed to inspire seniors to get comfortable with technology through a light-hearted yet respectful approach.

Working with Mediacorp artiste Richard Low, the brand rolled out a 360-degree campaign that included TVC, digital, print and in-store communications, which sought to highlight Singtel's “gold standard” services for seniors. The campaign's key objectives were to inspire seniors to go digital, educate seniors to know that help is available with Singtel and enable seniors with the tools, plans and services.

According to the brand, seniors are “skeptical and fearful when it comes to accessing the digital world”, choosing to stick to what they know or hesitantly turning to their closest friends and family for help. However, with the COVID-19 social distancing measures in place, it restricted the number of face-to-face digital training workshops the company could carry out for seniors.

markies singtel seniors

Meanwhile, the pandemic brought along challenges that required the brand to rethink and redefine the usual tried and tested media approaches. Singtel redefined the reach and frequency in three ways - using savvy seniors to inspire and reach more seniors, activating and targeting the influential “family and friends” network to increase message impact and frequency, and amplify reach by leveraging on unique media consumption patterns of seniors.

Singtel said it used Mediacorp artiste Richard Low, a recognisable and relatable figure among seniors, to capture the attention of the elderly and emphasise the message that keeping up with the times and going digital is easy with the help of Singtel’s plans and workshops.

The brand added that seniors trust their family and friends and would turn to them when they need digital help. Thus, hearing from family and friends would be much more authentic and credible instead of just from Singtel. Therefore, the company said that instead of relying on its media strategy on the tried and tired way of just traditional media ad buys, it targeted the children and caregivers of seniors, and activated them to convey the initiatives from Singtel to their parents and sign them up for our digital support

Besides just traditional media buys, the telco company said that it identified a media consumption pattern that was unique to seniors - their penchant to flip to the 4D results on newspapers. The brand said that it placed its print ad spots next to the 4D results table during result days, placing its message right where the seniors are looking most intently.

Execution

Together with Hogarth Worldwide, “Singtel Seniors Go Digital” was designed to inspire seniors to get comfortable with technology through a light-hearted yet respectful approach. The campaign was delivered in a multi-pronged approach focusing on inspiring and educating seniors and rallying and activating their loved ones. The campaign lasted from 24 July to 30 September last year.

In partnership with IMDA, Singtel wanted to curate a service especially for seniors. This service included workshops, educational material, express queues and a dedicated hotline which enabled the elderly to go digital with support, and build their confidence, said the brand.

Singtel explained that it inspired seniors to take the first step towards gaining new digital skills through its TVC and print collateral. It also provided digital knowledge and services for the seniors at Singtel shops through digital workshops and express queues, over the Singtel hotline, and having Singtel staff to volunteer as digital skill coaches at senior activity centres islandwide.

The brand said that even though many seniors are increasingly using smartphones, they do not use them effectively and their main source of information is still traditional media. Singtel therefore pushed a TVC on Mediacorp free-to-air channels and Singtel TV, with a focus on primetime news spots in English and Mandarin. It also ran print ads in two key mandarin newspaper publications.

Singtel’s gameshow-style “Who is the Savviest Senior?” spot followed opened with Low in the midst of answering a tech-related question. Instead of calling for his son for help, he calls Singtel, highlighting Singtel as the friend while telling fellow seniors that becoming tech-savvy is easy with Singtel’s help. 

According to the brand, Low gave its print ads a recognisable face that helped shout about the Singtel initiatives for seniors. Ad buys were placed on Shin Min paper’s 4D results section and Chinese newspaper Lian He Wan Bao to ensure higher reach.

Singtel said that to enable seniors, it strove to impart digital skills, especially those needed for them to stay connected in a pandemic such as Safe Entry. The company added that print materials communicating the senior-centric initiatives from Singtel were displayed in stores to inspire seniors into enhancing their digital skills.

Brochures and educational videos in multiple languages were also developed and used during digital workshops, outreach sessions at the senior activity centres and more. Singtel added that when COVID-19 restrictions reduced the number of people it could educate face-to-face, these touchpoints ensured that the brand reached seniors through mail or Singtel TV.

The telco targeted the elderly’s family members to encourage seniors and sign the seniors up for senior-centric initiatives. The TVC was distributed on digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, to attract the digital natives who are the children and grandchildren of seniors.

Facebook and Instagram posts helped to further convey the initiatives to family members of seniors and seniors who were already on the platforms. The brand also had concise digital banners showcasing the benefits of Singtel’s senior initiatives such as the workshops and phone deals as a call-to-action for sign-ups.

Results

According to Singtel, it achieved its goal of inspiring elders to take the first step towards gaining better digital skills. It saw an increase by about 60% unique reach across channels and surpassed its KPI of 1.3 million video views. The brand also had a 30% uplift in mobile plans with a smartphone sign-ups amongst seniors and approximately 200 digital workshop sign-ups in the first three months of the campaign.

Singtel also said that using a relatable media approach, it managed to hit high engagement and education rates with Singaporean seniors and their families. It saw a 10 times increase in overall call and chat volume to enquire about senior plans and workshops, more than 90% page lands on senior’s educational page from digital touchpoints which led to about 70% of seniors ad message recall, according to a Kantar survey.

Despite being a one-off campaign, Singtel added that the campaign managed to garner an upsurge in senior plans and services take-ups. As a result, there was an estimated 70% consideration rate to take up a Singtel mobile plan amongst seniors, and a more than 10% increase in monthly sign-ups among seniors, post-campaign month on month,