Singtel’s new tear-jerker ad on students fleeing CNY celebrations is racking up millions of views – and it goes to show millennials do care for family and tradition

Singtel’s new commercial titled From Ma, With Love tells the story of three Singaporean Chinese New Year absconders who soon realise that deep down, they do miss home and family.
Singtel

Aloof, withdrawn and stone-faced is what teens and millennials are perceived to be during family gatherings.

But judging by reactions to Singtel’s new Chinese New Year commercial, it seems like young Singaporeans are a lot more family-centred than expected.

The short film – titled From Ma, With Love – revolves around three Singaporean overseas university undergrads, who are thrilled at the fact that they’ve managed to escape Chinese New Year celebrations at home by returning to university.

Only when they discover Chinese New Year snacks, gifts and handwritten letters hidden in their luggage bags, does it dawn upon them that they really do miss home and their families.

The commercial was uploaded on Singtel’s Facebook page and YouTube channel at the start of January, and has garnered around 3.9 million views and 4.4 million views respectively as of 6pm on Jan 24 – bringing the total view count to 8.3 million on Jan 24.

So far, the ad seems to have done its job relating with its target audience – young Singaporean students – who have poured out their emotions and admitted their own guilt in the comments section.

YouTube screenshots / Singtel

Singtel’s vice president of group strategic communications and brand, Lian Pek, told Business Insider that the storyline was inspired by the success of last year’s campaign – Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner.

The story of Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner features working adults – Mr Lim’s children – who are too busy living their own lives that they initially decide to give that year’s reunion dinner a miss. The story ends after they realised what they had done, changed their minds and returned home for the meal with their father.

The 2018 video also performed well, garnering around 9.4 million views on Facebook and over 1.3 million views on YouTube – bringing the total view count to 10.7 million.

Following the theme of family and tradition, Singtel is again seeking to tug at the heartstrings of busy Singaporeans, but through the lens of the younger generation this time.

Pek said that the team is very heartened that the video has so far struck a chord with its audience.

“We believe this is because we’ve portrayed new year traditions to be expressions of love and care on the part of the older generation for the younger set – which is more meaningful than following tradition for tradition’s sake.

“The fact that people are responding emotionally tells us that deep down, we still yearn for meaningful connections with family and friends despite leading increasingly busy lives.”

She added that Singtel adopted a branded content strategy for many of its festive campaigns as it allows them to share messages that are in line with its brand values.

Viewership for Singtel’s festive advertisements have been increasing over the years.

Across all media platforms, its 2018 Christmas video campaign has garnered a whopping 15.2 million views to date, a significant increase from 2017’s 5.7 million views.

A similar pattern was observed in Singtel’s National Day video campaigns as well. The video posted in 2018 garnered 4.2 million views across all media platforms, a 1.9 million increase from 2017.

“Views for our National Day and Christmas films more than doubled from the previous year. Chinese New Year looks to be trending the same way. In fact, people are beginning to anticipate our next films,” Pek said.

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Find out what else is happening for Chinese New Year 2019 here.