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Everyone loves a good video.

We tend to gauge how ‘good’ the video is by how it makes us feel – from those which tug at our heartstrings, or make us laugh until our bellies hurt, these videos are also extremely clear in their messaging.

This also applies to branded content videos – those produced to sell a particular concept or product, or ones which are solely for publicity’s sake.

Gone are the days when brands were simply utilising the power of video for straightforward advertisements. You know, those “Buy 10 of these now, and you’ll get a chance to win a year’s supply!” types, or those which assert that their product is superior to competitors’.

Brands now understand the importance of using subtle, yet emotionally-engaging content to make themselves memorable in the minds of present-day individual – be it using relatable humour or bittersweet nostalgia.

2016 was a pretty good year for that.

From brands which took on a creative approach to publicity, or those who used the power of storytelling to send a message – these are some of the best branded videos we’ve seen in this year.

Are You Afraid Of The Dark?, Maggi Singapore

It started with an unbranded Facebook video which went viral.

Especially creepy due to its release during the Hungry Ghost Festival, the video depicted a couple’s encounter with an old lady at a remote, unknown part of Singapore.

Shot entirely with dashcam, the video got all of us believing that the footage was real – all the more so because it was posted on a ‘regular’ guy’s Facebook page.

Soon, this followup video was released, and its plot revolved around 2 guys who took on the viral video’s claim – eating at that ulu shop.

However, it differed from the previous not only because it was much better filmed – it was also evidently branded.

The first minute or so felt like a build up to a horror movie, but right after the ‘jump scare’, the mood quickly turned around with a pun (‘dark’ vs ‘dark’ colour of its noodles) and plug for Maggi’s new Hokkien Char Noodles.

Now, puns have the tendency induce an eye-roll from us, but the campaign was undeniably engaging, and was a creative way of promoting a new product.

Are You Cleverer Than A Typical Singaporean?, CPF Board

How much do we know about finances? Other than making sure we don’t spend over our salaries, not much.

With millennials being the newest entrants to working life, they’re often faced with the double-edge sword of being financially independent. The good part is that one can finally decide where and when to spend one’s salary, but the bad part is that one might not know anything more than just keeping a bank account in the green.

CPF understands that, and wants to educate millennials on financial literacy. But not via flowcharts and lengthy write ups – instead, they’re taking the unconventional way of doing so – using a gameshow.

Alongside their incumbent digital agency Wild Advertising, they worked with video content agency Hello Studios and Gushcloud to produce episodes featuring local celebrities and/or social media influencers undergoing a no-holds-barred experience, sometimes leading to them to undergo harsh (but nonetheless entertaining) punishments.

In each episode, guests are quizzed on financial literacy concepts, and viewers are treated to both laughs, and a new understanding of topics they would once have found baffling.

So far, each episode garners 100-200k views and a healthy amount of engagement, so I think it’s safe to say that the collaboration definitely worked to get Singaporean millennials interested, and more importantly, educated.

Tiger Street Food campaign, Tiger Beer

What do you think of, when you think of ‘tiger beer’?

Mostly, uncles downing pints of them at all hours of the day.

As compared to its foreign competitors, Tiger Beer has been a staple of our local landscape – think humble coffeeshops and hawker centres as compared to swanky bars and clubs. I’m sure many of us also remember the slightly risqué posters of sexy girls posing for the brand pasted around our neighbourhood coffeeshops.

Well, that image is long gone, but the brand has realised that as compared to trying to compete with foreign beer brands which tend to emphasise “hip, young, and cool” in their advertisements, retaining and reiterating its local origins is its unique way to winning the hearts of Singaporeans.

Thus began the #uncagestreetfood movement, which also saw the inception of the Tiger Street Food Support Fund, aiming to keep our street food alive by offering new hawkers up to $10,000 in reimbursements to alleviate costs involved in setting up a store.

To raise awareness for the campaign, short documentaries featuring veteran hawkers in their trade were also created by advertising agency BBDO Singapore, and gave us an insight into the lives of the hardworking individuals feeding us for generations now.

The life of a hawker is a behind-the-scenes one, but the videos, helmed by a brand with the financial capability and influence, gave a voice and face to the silent, but very important profession.

As part of street food themselves, Tiger Beer has taken the road more local, and created a campaign that is less about quick sales, but more about building a strong, lasting identity.

Nurturing Children To Never Give Up, MILO Singapore

The PSLE results season is always one that brings up discussions on if Singaporean parents are putting too much pressure on their 12-year-old children. This year was no different, and many successful adults stepped out to reveal their PSLE results, in a bid to prove that a lower score didn’t define their future.

MILO Singapore released this video in August, as a lead up to the results season. With a hidden camera-style approach, the video unveiled the purest feelings of Primary School students – from the trepidation leading up to the definitive exams, to their wishes of wanting to live up to the expectations of their parents, MILO used the power of familiarity and nostalgia for their campaign.

With parents watching on in another room, the kids are then asked how they’d think their parents would react to not-so good results.

Cue the heartwarming music and tears, as they innocently chirped that their parents would be completely understanding, and only cared if they worked hard and were good students.

This is a branded video after all, and a collage of the reunion of the kids and their parents holding onto the signature green cups acted as a reminder that “Hey, this is still a MILO video ok?”

Rather obvious product placement, but with MILO tied to our memories of childhood (as our drink of choice before we got addicted to coffee/tea, and its truck being the highlight of our Sports Days), the pairing isn’t so strange after all.

Smile With Strength With Yip Pin Xiu, Colgate

In what seemed like a confusing pairing at first, Colgate grabs our attention by having us ask that question, along with its person-feature of three-time Paralymic gold medallist and national swimmer and sweetheart Yip Pin Xiu.

The video contains zero mention of her talking about Colgate, or even about teeth, but the inspirational retelling of her story culminated in her flashing her pearly whites at the camera, saying “It was not just joy I felt but also relief and honour as there was an entire nation cheering me on. I could truly smile with strength.”

BOOM – with that, Colgate just managed to do 2 things – pay homage to one of our sporting stars, and also reminding us about the confidence that comes with a mouth of healthy teeth.

Did it lead to a spike in sales? We’re not sure, but it definitely created more social media engagement than if they had done a direct plug of their product. Its Facebook post featuring this video was put up last month, and has over 2,200 likes and 280 shares to date.

Love? Life., NTUC Social Enterprises

Yet another video which uses nostalgia and familiarity to endear itself to us (though you can’t deny that it works).

This one uses a few memories many Singaporeans would have – an innocent first love, visits the supermarket, and a warm and friendly middle-aged neighbourhood auntie.

While grocery shopping is mostly mundane, the video wasn’t; mainly because it managed to weave in the story of a boy, a girl, and a helpful auntie into supermarket aisles filled with food we loved and still love.

Not many know that FairPrice is actually a social enterprise by NTUC with the aim of providing accessible and affordable services to Singaporeans, thus, by imbuing the simple message of how FairPrice supermarkets have always been part of our lives, and the auntie embodying of the spirit of the enterprise, we are reminded once again how NTUC wants to be always there whenever we need anything.

These Are The Best Of 2016, What Will 2017 Bring?

The year is quickly coming to an end, and from what we see in the list, 2016 has been a pretty great year for branded videos.

Producers are getting wittier and more creative – a must, given that audiences are increasingly pickier and generally have shorter attention spans than before.

2016 has given us some great videos, and we can’t wait to see what brands will come up with next year.

Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know!

Hello Studios is affiliated to Vulcan Post.

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)