MCI dishes out financial planning tips this CNY with action-packed zodiac race

The Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) has united the 12 zodiacs for a showdown in its latest "The New Zodiac Race" campaign launched ahead of the Lunar New Year.

The video is a futuristic and creative take on the Chinese legend of the zodiac race, which sees the animals battling it out against the backdrop of Singapore's sights and sounds with comedic effects and racing moves. MCI's latest campaign is in support of the MoneySense Council and puts the spotlight on financial planning habits Singaporeans can arm themselves with to ensure good fortune and tidings in the new year.

According to the Financial Planning Attitudes Survey commissioned by the MoneySense Council, only three in five Singaporean residents have started planning for their future financial needs. Also, one in four felt that "one should live for the moment, instead of planning for the future". MCI is also launching a series of six comics, offering an exclusive look at six zodiacs and their financial planning journey.

Meanwhile, each zodiac also has a customised GIF which members of the public can send to family and friends via messaging platforms. Each zodiac imparts a nugget of financial wisdom for good luck and wealth in the new year.

When asked what inspired Tribal to use the 12 zodiacs in the campaign, its spokesperson told Marketing that while financial planning is an important subject, it is not always easily approachable for many Singaporeans. The challenge was to find a common thread that linked the young and old, and the second challenge was to talk about financial planning without putting people off, or sounding cliché, the spokesperson said.

"We decided on the zodiacs because zodiac signs are common to one and all, young and old. And the bonus was that fortune forecasting based on zodiac signs is widely popular in Singapore, particularly during the Chinese New Year period when people were looking to improve their fortunes in the new year. It was a great match between subject matter and communication objective," Tribal's spokesperson added.

Thereafter, the next task was to make the spot charming, relatable and dynamic to keep viewers hooked. The team wrote a selection of plots, storylines and stress-tested the concepts with friends and colleagues to find the right balance between action and storytelling.

The team also explored a variety of styles, techniques and approaches to best tell the story for the collective audience – arguably one of the most diverse audiences in the world – and decided on animation because it was a treatment that has been tried and tested, and appealed to the mass audience.

"We went the humour route, the horror route, a Marvel-Doctor-Strange-inspired route and even travelled both back and forward in time, before settling on the zodiac race that is an action-thriller piece for everyone in the family," the spokesperson added.

Benson Toh, Tribal Worldwide Singapore's creative director, said the festive season is a time where angbaos and money are at the forefront of most Chinese Singaporeans' minds. But financial planning is a subject that many shun, even in the company of friends and family. "With this animation piece, we hope to broach this less-spoken topic in a light-hearted and exciting way, and make it the talk of the town,” he said.