With most of the world either in lockdown or practising social distancing, night life just hasn’t been the same in 2020. Given all the pent-up demand and nostalgia for live entertainment, DBS bank has teamed up with The Secret Little Agency (TSLA) to recreate Singapore’s iconic original Zouk night club, albeit in virtual form on multiplayer game Fortnite.
“We know the world is crying out for the day we can attend music festivals or visit our favourite clubs again," says TSLA creative director Etienne Lesourd. "In Asia, no club is missed more than the legendary one that used to sit along the banks of the Singapore River at Jiak Kim Street."
By entering a code (9335-6787-4501) in Fortnite’s creative mode, players are able to visit the historic Singapore nightclub that closed in 2016—renamed the ‘Live Fresh Club’—as their favourite Fortnite character, where they can collect coins, play human pinball, or just socialise and break out their best moves on the dance floor.
For DBS, the project is a chance to broaden its brand reach to both gamers and clubbers, two younger demographics it has already stepped up engagements with, particularly with its Live Fresh credit card, which offers higher cashback incentives for those making online purchases.
“We wanted to bring a differentiated experience to both clubbers and gamers, who are a core part of our DBS Live Fresh Card base,” said Bee Bee Lim, executive director and head of customer marketing at DBS. “They will no doubt enjoy exploring the recreation of a truly iconic Singapore space, still fondly remembered by us all. We’re excited to be breaking ground in the gaming arena and look forward to introducing more compelling and innovative experiences.”
With integrated communications alongside the game, TSLA says it will measure the campaign's success through brand health monitoring as well as uptake in acquisitions and transactions of the DBS Live Fresh Card.
Attention to detail
Aware of the scrutiny the campaign might get from Singaporean clubbers, TSLA researched public records and architectural archives of the site where the legendary Zouk club once stood to painstakingly build the replica. Working in Fortnite creative mode with game developers and fans, the agency recreated many of the exact design and elements of the original club, including its toilets, main bar and foyer.
"We wanted people entering the space to experience a nostalgic rush, so getting every little detail and element of that club complex down to perfection was probably the most challenging part," Lesourd tells Campaign. "Additionally, we still needed to make sure that the gameplay itself was fun and had replay value, so we had to playtest it many times."
TSLA says Fortnite's creative mode allowed the agency free play to build and create an immersive space. Plus, the game has a big following globally and in Singapore. While the game may have also been an obvious choice given its addictive combination of dress up, gaming, virtual events and dance moves, the campaign comes with unfortunate timing for the platform’s accessibility. Fortnite’s principled legal battle with Apple and Google has seen the game removed from app stores, broken into separate games and losing support for certain functions.
But TSLA says it's confident it's been able to create something meaningful for DBS customers and their friends as per their brief, at a time when spending time together is more important than ever.