Telcos' National Day videos prove big hit online

Singtel's National Day video features national para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong (top) among others, while StarHub's video champions wartime heroine Elizabeth Choy.
Singtel's National Day video features national para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong (top) among others, while StarHub's video champions wartime heroine Elizabeth Choy.PHOTOS: SINGTEL, SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

SINGAPORE - Music videos championing some of Singapore's lesser-known heroes - from wartime heroine Elizabeth Choy to modern-day para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong - have proved a huge hit online, pulling in millions of views.

Telcos StarHub and Singtel have both produced patriotic videos to mark National Day on Friday (Aug 9), working with local schools and community organisations.

StarHub's video features more than 400 pupils and teachers from Radin Mas, Tanjong Katong and Xingnan primary schools who sing 2002 National Day Parade theme song We Will Get There while unveiling a mural, banner and statue to honour three pioneering women who contributed to Singapore's early history.

Hajjah Fatimah was a 19th century philanthropist and businesswoman, Checha Davies was an Indian-born social worker and women's rights activist while Elizabeth Choy helped to supply medicine, money and messages to prisoners of war in Changi Prison in Japanese-occupied Singapore during World War II.

StarHub said the three women were chosen as they were "symbols of courage and selflessness".

Ms Mei Cheong, vice-president of brand and marketing communications at StarHub, added: "We realised that in our nation's historical narrative, the spotlight has often been on our Founding Fathers. So for this bicentennial year, we thought it would be good for a change to celebrate our Founding Mums too."

The Singapore Council of Women's Organisations and Singapore Women's Hall of Fame were also involved in StarHub's video.

It has so far pulled in more than 500,000 views on YouTube along with more than 1,100 shares on Facebook.

Meanwhile a video launched last month by rival Singtel, which features the song In Return, sung by Benjamin Kheng and Narelle Kheng of local band The Sam Willows, has been watched more than 6.5 million times on YouTube.

The video features para-swimmer Toh Wei Soong, theatre arts practitioner Shaza Ishak, and orthopaedic surgeon and medical volunteer Kumaran Rasappan.

Singtel says its video pays tribute to Singaporeans who exemplify the spirit of giving back, whether it is by speaking up for the differently-abled and ethnic minorities or helping the less fortunate.

Ms Lian Pek, its vice-president for group strategic communications and brand, said: "We're not just about satisfying customer requirements profitably. We're vested in our customers, our employees, our partners and our larger community and this film is an expression of that long-term commitment."

The telco has produced other National Day videos in the past, including a six-minute film last year about a teenage boy who visits his grandfather in Singapore after living and studying abroad.


Assistant Professor of Marketing Mansur Khamitov, of  Nanyang Business School at Nanyang Technological University, who specialises in branding, said the telcos' videos aim to build a greater connection with local consumers who pride themselves on being Singaporean.

"The probability of such efforts backfiring tends to be quite low and hence can be considered a rather safe brand tactic," he said.

"However, in part because of its increasing prevalence and popularity, such a tactic may be unable to break through the increasing amount of commercial clutter out there."

Meanwhile, eight ITE College West students released their own National Day-related video on Monday (Aug 5) featuring 101 staff, students and alumni singing River Song by local band Plainsunset.

The students are part of the college's Fabric of Life project set up in 2017 to highlight unsung heroes and inspirational stories from ITE. The project comes under the school's Campus Media Club.

The club's student leader, Ms Nur Syahfiqah Roszani, 19, said it took two and a half months to produce the four-minute video, which was supported by the school and posted on the school's official Instagram account (@itecollegewest) as well as the Fabric of Life account (@fabricoflifestory).

"We chose this song by Plainsunset because the songwriter (lead singer Jonathan Chan) was inspired by the Singapore River and its skyline," she said. "We also wanted a song that is easy to listen to and sing along with."