Byravee Iyer
Dec 18, 2014

Great Eastern’s CMO talks SG50 plans

SINGAPORE - Brands are preparing to cash in by associating themselves with Singapore's 50th anniversary next year, and homegrown insurer Great Eastern has been working to establish early-mover advantage.

CMO Colin Chan (L) signing a mini sphere at a Great Eastern outlet
CMO Colin Chan (L) signing a mini sphere at a Great Eastern outlet

As part of its marketing plans, the company has announced that all babies born in 2015 will receive free health insurance for their first year, plus a gift pack.

Great Eastern is also sponsoring 25,000 'wishing spheres' across the city, where locals can write down their fondest wishes. The spheres are part of the Marina Bay Singapore countdown 2015, the curtain-raiser for Singapore’s SG50 celebrations.

The company is also inviting the public to submit their wishes on a microsite and will ultimately fullfil 50 of those. 

CMO Colin Chan said the company has increased its marketing budget significantly for the year-long campaign. “As a homegrown company with a long tradition, we felt it was only right to do something to celebrate this,” Chan said.

The rationale for the campaign came from the firm’s 2012 brand refresh initiative. “We didn’t just want to be a life insurance company,” said Chan. “We want to be a life company and get more involved with the consumer's journey.”

Important milestones tend to make people think about insurance, heightening awareness, he said. The company hopes that by making signup easy and seamless, it will encourage people to get covered as early as possible.

Great Eastern’s employees and financial consultants will also be working to raise S$500,000 for the community and the underprivileged through the Great Eastern Women’s Run. As a subset of the wishes campaign, the firm is also helping 50 staff realise their own dreams.

Print and TV ads will roll out in January. Driven largely in-house, the campaign has been developed with help from at least a couple of agencies, although Chan declined to name them.

The homegrown insurer is currently reviewing its creative agency, putting incumbent TBWA on alert. The CMO said the review is part of the company’s regular process, and Great Eastern has not issued a formal RFP.

In November, another financial services company, DBS, launched a branding campaign also timed to build up to anniversary celebrations. The Singapore bank has launched a social site, inviting people to share their goals, and an internal panel will select the winners. Chan brushes off the similarities and that its plans are driven by its ‘life company’ mantra.


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