Longer form content allows us to ‘indulge ourselves’, says DBS as banking mini series kicks on with new episodes

Singapore’s DBS Bank is pressing on with its drama-cum-advertising mini series, Sparks, as its marketing boss said longer form content has allowed the company to “indulge ourselves” and develop a deeper understand of the bank among customers.

The first three episodes of the heavily branded banking series were released earlier this year on Youtube and DBS’s owned channels, with some paid media to promote the series.

A fourth episode has just been released with episode five following next month.

Sparks, which stars Malaysian-born Singapore actor Adrian Pang and was produced by Moviola, follows a team of bankers at DBS and their dealings with clients, sprinkled with prospect of a developing romance between two team members.

The series has been inspired by real events, DBS said, including the unearthing of a fraudulent lending firm which swindled investors.


Karen Ngui

Karen Ngui, managing director and head of group strategic marketing and communications, said Sparks was designed to showcase a more “human” element of banking and shed the myth that bankers are all about numbers.

“Sparks has been a great opportunity to demonstrate how banking is not just nuts and bolts and numbers,” she said. “We wanted to show that what DBS does impacts real people and real lives.

“We have tried to demonstrate the culture of DBS and what it’s like to work as a team at DBS. It shows honesty and the humanity behind the brand. It’s not about dollars and cents and numbers but real people’s lives.”

The series has rolled out in Singapore, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong and India and has been promoted in cinemas and on TV.

“We were really happy with the responses to the first three episodes which is why we have come back with episodes four and five and there will most likely be more,” Ngui added.

She claimed the episodes, and their trailers, have so far generated 12 million views with more than 500,000 “interactions”. Viewers were even asked to post their favourite moments on the DBS Facebook page.

Ngui said it was “too early” to say how Sparks has impacted the perception of the brand but claimed anecdotal evidence was “encouraging”.

“Longer form video has enabled us to bring what we do to life verses having another traditional 30-second or 60-second TVC,” she told Mumbrella. “We have been able to draw people in so maybe they understand and appreciate bankers more and realise it’s very much a people’s industry. It’s not just about loans and credit cards, it’s about making lives and businesses better.”

Ngui described marketing as being in a “state of transition”, with the creation of Sparks illustrating how marketers have more weapons at their disposal.

“We have a lot more options and ways of engaging clients and clients to be,” she said. “There will always be a role for the more traditional print ads but we now have the opportunity to indulge ourselves in longer form videos.

“In the past we were hemmed in by media cost. To do a 60-second TV commercial would be considered a huge luxury, and 90-second was a very rare occurrence.

“The newer episodes are 10 minutes or even longer, and people have found it engaging. It lets the characters build out, and we can tell more of the story and get a better feel for the bank, what we stand for and how we go about our day to day to help our customers.”


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