Magazine article Communication World

Short Subjects, Big Impact: Video Series Brings a Financial Services Company's Brand Promise to Life

Magazine article Communication World

Short Subjects, Big Impact: Video Series Brings a Financial Services Company's Brand Promise to Life

Article excerpt

Fueled by the momentum of being ranked the No. 1 life insurance company in the country in 2011, Sun Life Financial-Philippines (SLFP) wanted to reinforce its image as a thought leader in the local financial services area. SLFP sought a campaign that would present a more personal and creative approach to teaching financial literacy locally while complementing the global business goals of SLFP's parent company. (Sun Life's corporate office in Canada had issued the company's focus for 2012: a global goal to roll out "disruptive," out-of-the-box measures in a cost-effective manner.)

Considering the technology landscape, SLFP decided to enhance its brand digitally. More economical than traditional media like print and TV, digital media have been embraced by Filipinos: 48 percent consume media online, 22.3 million use Facebook, and Filipinos are among the Asia-Pacific region's most active Internet users in terms of conducting product research, reading consumer reviews and searching for online deals.

The team came up with a plan to produce five digital short films with the theme "Life Is Brighter Under the Sun"--Sun Life's tagline. In addition to educating the general public about the importance of obtaining insurance, these shorts could be used as sales tools to bridge the gap between considering and purchasing a Sun Life product. The target audience was divided into two, with the primary audience being Sun Life advisers and sales agents, and the secondary audience being the general public. (In the Philippines, prospective buyers of insurance or investment products cannot buy directly from a provider, but must go through a financial adviser.) Developed in collaboration with established and independent filmmakers, the seven-minute shorts include themes of love, hope and a positive outlook. Each highlights Sun Life's brand promise and wraps up with a "financial literacy" lesson for the viewer.

The Sun Shorts premiered biweekly from July to September 2012, providing employees with an innovative sales tool during Sun Life's sales rallies. The timing of each video release was critical: too early and the publicity and promotion would not last; too far apart and the momentum would be lost.

To produce the series, Sun Life's marketing team partnered with talent agency Star Magic and production house Unitel Productions. The Philippines' highest-rated cable movie channel, Cinema One, gave invaluable support as media partner, providing free airtime to promote the Sun Shorts campaign in exchange for billing as a major sponsor. Instead of hiring an advertising agency, SLFP took on the challenge of managing the campaign itself, a move that brought the cost down by 17 percent. Collateral, including website content and design, was produced in-house.

YouTube served as the main distribution platform, while Sun Life facilitated discussion to boost the viral spread of each video on Facebook. When viewers talked about Sun Shorts, their comments automatically appeared on their Facebook timeline, visible to their friends. To promote sharing, a promo called "Fly to America" rewarded the best user comments with prizes and a chance to win a trip to San Francisco. The promotion received 1,000 qualified entries.

Prior to the official release dates, behind-the-scenes interviews and photos were posted on the campaign's microsite to build momentum. …

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