Prudential shoots virtual ad with fitness crazy Michelle Chong

Prudential has unveiled a social ad in conjunction of its newly-launched Pulse app, an artificial intelligence powered mobile app that provides Singaporeans with access to healthcare services and real-time health information. The minute-long video, which was shot with a virtual background, features actress Michelle Chong as her fitness character "Venus Seow" and was done with the help of VaynerMedia Asia Pacific. Seow tries to get her neighbours to gather for a meet-up if they are bored at home, and is met with backlash with her neighbours telling her not to be crazy, stay at home, and download the Pulse app to keep her health in check.

In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson from VaynerMedia, said it took three weeks to produce the ad, and it was filmed entirely on Zoom and virtual green screens. "With the current situation, we think people are also in a more forgiving space, and are okay with videos that may not come across as perfectly polished like a fully produced advertisement," the spokesperson added. The video has garnered 1,200 views and 52 shares on Prudential's Facebook page at the time of writing, less than 24 hours since it was posted. It also saw 43 positive reactions. The video is posted on Prudential's Instagram and Twitter page as well.

According to VaynerMedia, the video is part of a larger campaign titled "Pulse by Prudential: Real Anot?", and there will be more videos released over the next two weeks. The campaign will run until the end of May. The spokesperson also said it will be working with two other talents from SGAG for its upcoming videos that will convey a similar message of staying home, staying safe and not spreading fake news for a younger audience. "We reached out to SGAG as it has also been vocal about practicing social responsibility during this time in a way that is funny and relatable, which is very much in line with the message that we’d like to bring across with the Pulse campaign," the spokesperson said.

Additionally, the agency created a live experience in the form of a Zoom webinar skit between Chong and the CCO of Prudential that was streamed to all of Prudential's financial consultants. SGAG’s Xiao Ming joined the media conference earlier this week as a special guest as well. When asked why Prudential chose to partner with Chong, the spokesperson said Chong is an iconic personality who also speaks to a wide demographic of Singaporeans. 

Goh Theng Kiat, chief customer officer of Prudential Singapore, said it wanted to amplify its Pulse app's position of combating misinformation and "fake news" for users with the campaign. "As we stay home during this circuit breaker period, combating misinformation and ‘fake news’ becomes even more crucial. Having the right information that’s factually accurate will enable us to get clarity during these uncertain times," Goh added.

VJ Anand, ECD of VaynerMedia, said: "I think the more important thing about this campaign was the insight of using these characters to portray the fake medical experts that are rampant on WhatsApp group chats these days. Fake medical advice can pose as a real issue, and we wanted to call it out by having our characters provide fake remedies, put a humorous spin on it, and to tie that back to using a trustworthy wellness app like Pulse, which is a source of verified health information."

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The ad follows Prudential's launch of its Pulse app, which is made available for free to all Singaporeans. With the app, users can check their symptoms, conduct a digital health assessment to better understand future disease risks, and seek timely health advice, at any time and from anywhere. According to a press release, Pulse is part of Prudential’s region-wide strategy to make healthcare affordable and accessible to all individuals and families. There will also be more services launched for the app in the second half of the year. Pulse has been rolled out in other Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines.

Dennis Tan, Prudential Singapore’s CEO, said the launch of the app in Singapore is timely in light of the COVID-19 spread and the nation’s circuit breaker measures. “We hope the healthcheck function on Pulse can nudge people into being more proactive about preventative healthcare by making them aware of their potential disease risks and lifestyle gaps. Prudential has always believed in encouraging people to live well for longer. By leveraging health technology, we want to partner everyone in their health journey to prevent, postpone and protect against the onset of diseases which are often linked to lifestyle choices,” Tan said. 

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