Babar Khan Javed
Jul 4, 2018

How NTUC Income, BBH and YouTube delivered 500 scary travel scenarios

CASE STUDY: NTUC Income and BBH pooled data and insights, then used an alpha-stage YouTube tool to execute a campaign that showed prospective travellers some of their worst fears.

Retargeting personalized video ads at eager travelers, Income beat industry benchmarks by 50% in brand recall.
Retargeting personalized video ads at eager travelers, Income beat industry benchmarks by 50% in brand recall.

Background and objectives

In a cluttered and price-conscious market, Singapore-based insurance provider NTUC Income asked BBH Singapore to create a campaign around its travel insurance offering. According to Marcus Chew, CMO of Income, the agency was briefed to incentivize all types of travellers to rely on Income for travel insurance, with the messaging based on customer insights and the tactics being experimental.

As the client's creative agency for over 10 years, BBH understood the segmentation, targeting, and positioning of Income's products and was aware of Chew's appetite for risk and innovation. Prompted by a partner from Google, the agency explored YouTube Director Mix, a tool that allows users to create multiple versions of a video based on different targeting parameters. 


After being granted alpha-stage access to YouTube Director Mix, BBH determined that the creativity for the messaging and visuals would need to depend on user intent, as determined from signals from across Google's data network. Targeting parameters hinged on Google searches, videos watched on YouTube, content consumed across the publisher network, and more. The agency also made a data request to Income, taking in information gathered from actual travel-insurance claims pertaining to customers that have visited countries which represent the majority of intent-led search terms.

Armed with all this intent data and insights about negative travel experiences, the agency set out to develop multiple creative elements for the "Play It Safe" campaign.

The agency then used YouTube Director Mix to dynamically change the visuals the campaign delivered, based on real-time data about what an internet user was consuming or searching for. This resulted in more than 500 different ads, with different characters suffering ‘accidents’ in various locations.


The "Play It Safe" campaign ran from 11 December 2017 to the 21 January 2018, aimed at 4 million Singapore-based prospective travellers with intentions around tourism and business-related travel. According to Chew, the campaign resulted in an improvement of 5.8 points in brand recall, while branded searches increased by 55%.

Chew asserts that sales conversions doubled during the testing period, aided by a measurable improvement for on-site engagement metrics. According to BBH, men and women gravitated towards two distinct creative elements. The ad that converted the most men featured a delayed flight in an urban city, while the top-performing ad aimed at women involved an embarrassing food-poisoning situation in an outdoor field during a business lunch. Brand recall for the former contributed toward 6.7 points, while the latter contributed 9.3 points.

According to Chew, customers targeted based on their search data generated the highest conversions, proving that search is the clearest indicator of a consumer's intent to purchase.

"Topic targeting is best for driving recall, while in-market is most effective for consideration, with optimal lifts at 2+ impressions," said Chew, referring to how the video ads were aimed at prospects.

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