Ad Nut
Nov 16, 2021

You don’t earn more than $5k? Circles.Life says it's okay

In a new campaign, the telco wants to remind Singaporeans not to focus only on numbers-based achievements. But it just falls short of what could have been a highly impactful campaign.

Singaporean telco company Circles.Life is not one to shy away from high-concept, attention-thirsty marketing tactics (see: ‘Why is there a strange human-cat roaming in Singapore?’ and ‘Public breakup ad turns out to be Circles.Life stunt’).

This time, the campaign in question is less ‘controversial’ and opts for relatability over absurdity. Titled #MoreThanAnyNumber, the campaign aims to shed light on Singapore’s numbers-obsessed habits, whether it’s around exam scores, the ‘perfect’ age for marriage, or salaries. Ad Nut has noticed that this is somewhat of a phenomenon in Singapore, where external achievements are all-too-often glorified, which has led to many basing their self-worth on them.

While the insight behind this campaign is commendable, the campaign falls short in execution. The film starts off perfectly fine, with local influencer J Jaikishan pointing out common scenarios where numbers-based achievements have made people feel poorly about themselves. Ad Nut particularly likes that the set design is visibly torn down after each scenario to provide a theatre-like feel to the proceedings.

But somewhere around the halfway mark, the writing begins to get a little contrived, a little sappy, a little meandering. Ad Nut also wishes the film would give more of a nod to systems—such as exam-oriented measures in public schools—that lead to numbers-based pressures in the first place, rather than simply implying that individuals are entirely responsible for the external burdens they face.

#MoreThanAnyNumber is said to be inspired by two campaigns that are widely quoted in the genre of raising awareness on social issues: SK-II's 'Marriage Market Takeover' and Vicks' 'Touch of Care'. Ad Nut would argue that these two campaigns are industry-leading because of the way they are sensitively written with characters that are thoughtfully portrayed, both qualities that have made them relatable to millions in the region. 

Plus, what Ad Nut has gathered about Circles.Life's strategy is its tendency to go for stunts that it presumes will go ‘viral’, without much thought into creating a cohesive, unified message. What does this brand really represent? Who is it really targeting? How is it setting itself apart from competitors? Despite the brand ramping up marketing spend in the last couple of years, these answers remain unanswered for Ad Nut.

Note: The brand produced the work itself, in partnership with (excellently named!) production company Bump Creative Clump.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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