StarHub & DDB: Behind the scenes

In times when longevity of client-agency ties is on a rapid decline, StarHub and DDB are amongst those that buck the trend.

Their partnership entered into its eighth year in 2013 and so did managing director of DDB Singapore for the StarHub's business, Rowena Bhagchandani's association with the brand, who joined the agency soon after it won the account.

See a behind-the-scenes video of the cover shoot here.

Working together with Oliver Chong, AVP of brand and marketing communications, Bhagchandani has seen the brand evolve over the years and is now leading DDB Singapore in helping StarHub transform into a socially exciting brand.

Started in 2011 with its much-awarded Hub It campaign, StarHub has kept up its mantra of engaging consumers both online and offline. The Hub It campaign touted as Singapore's first interactive TVC, featured a Love Tail TVC starring Sparky - Singapore's most famous and much-loved Jack Russell.

"In the Hub It campaign was saw success in our ability to connect and engage with consumers. As a brand we want people to love us, so everything we do we think how do we engaged the consumers and help them lead a socially exciting life," Chong says.

Then came its campaign for SafeSurf Online, a value-added service available to all MaxOnline and MaxInfinity monthly access plan customers. It is a "filtering" service which blocks out undesirable websites on the Internet.

The brief to DDB was simple, says Chong: "we wanted to promote the service and encourage its uptake in a way that is very different."

While it is common to resort to the fear tactic for such campaigns, says Chong, StarHub wanted to look at the situation from a new perspective altogether. It set out to talk to parents about it.

The central idea was facilitating a conversation between parents and children on the often-avoided topics of or related to sex. The Birds and the Bees campaign was created.

StarHub and DDB used the content blocking feature for parents and allowed them to customise the message for kids in form of videos or images.  "We used these blocking tools as an opportunity to encourage parents to talk to them about it."

"Showing the negative side was easy but we decided to address the issue head on in a typical StarHub tongue-in-cheek yet responsible way."

"The shock and fear strategy doesn't work anymore," Bhagchandani says.

The whole journey wasn't a simple one. StarHub kept pushing the agency to think differently avoiding all obvious way to do such a campaign and once finalised, the onus was on Chong and the team to sell the rather bold idea, internally.

"Such campaigns are harder as they need development at the back end, repeated testing and solid coordination. The consumer journey needs to be simple hence for us it was imperative that that the tech side of things ran smoothly," Chong says.

Find out how the duo worked on this campaign and more in our latest Bought &Sold column in the April edition.