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DBS | The 2019 Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards

Category | Video Marketing
Division | Corporate

Describe the Challenge

2018 was a seminal year for DBS as we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We rolled out our new ethos—Live more, Bank less—replacing “Living, Breathing Asia,” launched 12 years ago.

In its true sense, the tagline encourages hassle-free digital banking, as we aim to make banking simple, seamless, and invisible, so that customers have more time to spend on the things and people they care about and less time doing the perceived “administrative” tasks that banking entails.

In addition, as we explored new ways to engage with our audiences, we had many discussions about how there were popular TV series around lawyers and doctors and that it was a shame that members of the public knew so little about what bankers did and what their daily lives were like, as well as the positive impact beyond banking and how we are able to spark joy for our customers.

Define the Target Audience

SPARKS the mini-series primarily was intended to engage a broad-based audience with a skew towards millennials. The intent is to retain and grow the relationship for existing DBS customers while building a pipeline of new customers and make them aware of DBS?s purpose and the values that drive us.

Describe the Solution

SPARKS, an industry-first online mini-series, follows a group of young bankers navigating work and their personal lives.

Inspired by true client stories, the mini-series depicts how these bankers challenge the status quo and go above and beyond when solving unusual client challenges.

With SPARKS, DBS found a way to immerse the brand in people's lives. SPARKS allowed us to go beyond the functional aspects of financial services and humanize both bankers and banking, thus creating an emotional connection that sustained the audience’s interest in a category that otherwise sees largely rationale/product-centric communication.

Since its inception, SPARKS has garnered more than 245 million views as well as more than 24 million engagements globally. The series' success has greenlit preparations for a second season, to continue sharing meaningful stories from the world?s best bank from Singapore, the little red dot.

 Through the SPARKS mini-series, DBS has created a platform that offers an insider perspective of the lives of bankers, humanizing the financial sector and communicating the core philosophy that drives bankers at DBS.

Our objectives:

  • To stand out from a highly commoditized industry not only in Singapore where we?re headquartered, but also across the region especially in the developing markets of India, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan where brand awareness is not as high.

  • To reinvent marketing in the financial services sector and challenge consumer perceptions that banking is purely transactional—to put customers back at the heart of what we do.

Describe How the Solution Was Deployed

The different episodes depict how the bankers challenge the status quo and go above and beyond when solving unusual client challenges. The mini-series also allowed us to go beyond disruptive marketing and take a contextualized approach to engage customers where they are most active—online. The longer format also helped convey these stories with more depth versus traditional 30s/60s TVCs while keeping audiences entertained and engaged.

Spearheaded by DBS Singapore, we localized and marketed SPARKS regionally to show a different side of banking—how we enable consumers to live more and bank less. A different roll-out strategy was implemented for each country:

  • India: Leveraging the star power of cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, sparked many conversations around doing good that culminated in a sustainability-focused initiative to light up a sporting field in Mumbai to empower children through sports.

  • Hong Kong: DBS leveraged a key influencer page KingJer to amplify the SPARKS Video. Apart from this, a media video with a Hong Kong stand-up comedian was made.

  • Taiwan and China: Rolled out multiple digital pushes including live stream sessions and social media contests around the core content of SPARKS.

  • Indonesia: Took it big with Instagram and user generated content—all aimed at increasing brand awareness in growth markets and continuing to shape perceptions of the bank in the audience’s mind in established markets like SG and HK—highlighting how DBS bankers go beyond banking by touching the lives of people and businesses.

Describe the Qualitative or Quantitative Measures of Success

Driving Awareness, Affinity and Advocacy in a cost-efficient manner In total, the SPARKS mini-series has amassed over 250 million views and over 24 million digital engagements globally. Our mar-tech tools have enabled regional campaign optimization, allowing us to reduce cost per view and cost per engagement by over 60 percent since the first episode.

Business Attribution We implemented an attribution model to track impact of SPARKS episodes across business verticals. Overall, we saw a 9 percent contribution of SPARKS on the total bank leads/enquiries generated, with 13 percent contribution to leads/enquiries for our premium proposition called DBS Wealth/Treasures and almost 10 percent contribution to our SME/small business proposition.

Created for Advocacy and Recognition from the Start SPARKS is proud to garner these recent wins to date:

  • Yahoo Big Idea Chair award 2018: Best Video strategy (Merit)

  • Asia Pacific: Mob-Ex Awards 2018—Best Campaign Video & Rich Media (Gold)

  • Global: EFMA-Accenture 2017—Excellence in Digital Marketing (Gold)

  • Asia-Pacific: PromaxBDA Asia 2017—Most Outstanding Marketing Initiative (Gold)

  • SG: Top 10 YouTube ads—Episodes 4 and 5 were 5th and 6th respectively in 2016, Episode 7 emerged 2nd in 2017

 List the Tools Involved

  • Sprinklr: for social media publishing & reporting

  •  Sizmek: for business attribution modelling
  • Acorn: for Brand health monitor

  • Adobe target: for personalization journey



About the Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards

The Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards, presented by The Conference Board Marketing and Communications Center, honors organizations for their innovative use of communications technologies. Formerly the Society for New Communications (SNCR) Excellence Awards, the case study program has been recognizing excellence for 13 years. The awards were presented at a gala and dinner on June 26, 2019, in New York City.








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