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How DBS Bank reinvents brand campaigns through innovative storytelling and a full-funnel approach

Technology By: MarketingMay 27, 2021

In this case study, we explore how adopting a digital-first mindset led DBS Bank to create an ongoing, industry-first creative campaign, Sparks, and how customer-centric, values-driven content can help them gain better insights into customers’ journeys, optimise marketing efforts, and allow for stronger connections with audiences.

To connect with today’s banking customers, DBS Bank chose to stay at the forefront of innovation, embraced a purpose-driven, digital-first strategy and built a culture of experimentation and innovation to continuously reimagine the way they operate and serve their customers.

New ways to connect: Creating a digital-first campaign around the way audiences consume content

In this case study we will discuss how we worked with DBS Bank to create a mini-drama series on YouTube, with storytelling that would help to humanize banking since more and more audiences were consuming video content online.  

The Sparks series first started in 2016 with 10 episodes in its first season. Inspired by true stories, Sparks depicts DBS Banks employees who are empowered by the bank to make decisions that benefit their customers. The second season was launched in 2019 and this time the focus was on sustainability, exploring social issues such as plastic pollution, food waste and social inequality.

Infectious Media was tasked with going above and beyond what was achieved in Season 1. We also wanted to dive into the specific issues within each episode and match the right message with the right audiences.


At the research stage, we identified key themes of each Sparks episode: 

Cause - Who/what caused the social issue
Impact - Who are the groups that are mainly affected by these issues
Action - Who/what are the main drivers of change

Once we identified these themes, we were able to use the Google DV360 platform to find targetable audiences.  An example of a targetable audience based on the above research was: Supermarket and food and beverage outlets are responsible for one of the highest consumptions of single-use plastics. Therefore we would target Google's In-Market: frequently dines out/fast food cravers/convenience shoppers

Google’s Custom Affinity Audience Targeting was used to get more specific with the type of audience we can reach out to.  For example, on Sparks S2E1, the episode is centred around a Social Enterprise that was providing an alternative to single-use plastics. One of the main groups that sits within the ‘’Cause’’ theme are the producers of single-use plastics and the plastic chemical industry players. Using Google’s Custom Affinity Audience Targeting, we were able to target keywords, the name brand of these specific players as well as news coverage or URLs.  


Our main optimisation strategy was to optimise for Cost per Impressions Audible Visible at Completion (CPIAVC). The goal was to aim for more quality views for this campaign. We witnessed a 28% improvement in CPIAVC from $0.07 to $0.05 between the first wave (Episode 1-3) and the second wave (Episode 4-5). 

We've also explored different devices and saw a 30% increase in completed videos on DBS' Sparks ads using Connected TV.

The series proved to be an engaging and effective content marketing effort. With more than 250 million views, it was one of the top 10 ads watched on YouTube and has won a number of awards. The series also led to a 159% uplift in brand interest and a 46% recognition score in awareness and advocacy, which encouraged us to continue the momentum with a 10-episode second season in 2019.

In Singapore, this led to more than 15% of new business-related loans and SME products, and 17% of wealth product inquiries coming from audiences who watched Sparks.

Watch all the Sparks Season 2 episodes here

This case study was originally published by Google and you can view the full case study here

As a Google Marketing Partner, Infectious Media is working closely with the platform. Get in touch if you want to find out more.

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