Case Study: How DBS leveraged content marketing to re-position the brand as ‘Force For Good’

DBS Sparks Case Study

Brand Introduction

DBS is a financial services group in Asia, with over 280 branches across 18 markets. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS has a presence in the three key Asian axes of growth: Greater China, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Campaign Summary

Launched in 2016, Sparks is a web-series that follows a group of young bankers as they navigate work and personal lives. It is inspired by true stories where the bankers challenge the status quo to go above and beyond when solving unusual client challenges. Surmounting challenges with a personable and inventive touch, these bankers embody the “Live more, Bank Less” spirit, enabling them to live life to the fullest.

The series hopes to convey the true meaning of banking and to challenge the perception that banking is only about transactions. It reflects DBS Bank’s commitment to integrating banking seamlessly with customers’ everyday lives, going the extra mile so that they can achieve their dreams and get more out of life.

2 years and 8 episodes in, DBS Bank India launched Sparks locally, featuring Sachin Tendulkar. The episodes were inspired by his work in the realm of helping kids access sports. Sparks marked Sachin’s acting debut in a web-series

The journey began with Sachin talking about his long-standing purpose – helping kids get access to play across the country. DBS partnered with Sachin to further his cause and take it to the masses. The shared journey of DBS and Sachin bears witness to many trials and tribulations as they take the first step towards sparking opportunities for kids, lighting up sports fields so that they are enabled to play more. 

Also Read: Case Study: Mahindra Finance Company’s #IAmIndia attempted to transform rural India

Problem Statement/Objective

DBS Bank is relatively unknown in India. Given the low awareness of DBS in India, the overt nature of branding and the quintessentially Asian content values, DBS leveraged Sparks as a vehicle to boost awareness and position DBS as a bank that goes beyond to help customers, business clients and communities and is a ‘Force for Good’.

Campaign Brief

The brief of the campaign was to launch Sparks in India with Sachin with a meaningful idea that straddles the uniqueness of the show – bankers in a never before seen avatar – and the purpose-led values of DBS bank.

Creative Idea

#SparkAPurpose – Sachin’s true purpose is in helping kids access play, a purpose that transcends his cricketing career. In his quest to achieve this, he partners with DBS Bank, one that goes beyond just fulfilling banking requirements to positively impact the lives of their customers, business clients, and communities as a force for good. The two come together over what becomes a shared purpose – lighting up lives, using sports.


Low awareness of DBS bank in India.

Uniquely Asian content and production values that are reflected through the earlier episodes and thus, the launch strategy entailed launching specifically with the episodes created with Sachin.

That the narrative would have to do justice to both Sachin’s dream but position DBS as the best partner for the task at hand.


Sparks was an omnichannel campaign – outdoor, in-cinema and skewed to digital and social across platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with consistent posting and some promotions as well.

A monologue of Sachin talking about his larger purpose outside of his 24-year cricketing career was created and posted across his social media handles, becoming a top Twitter trend and amplified by various content publishers. His search for the right partner was shown to culminate in his coming together with DBS India where CEO Surojit Shome and Sachin decide to #SparkAPurpose – lighting grounds for kids so that they can play. It showcases Sachin’s true calling in empowering kids and DBS’ true values in doing good, bringing in its network of social enterprises engaged in solar lighting.

Subsequently, a multimedia campaign through OOH, in-cinema and digital, bolstered by series-related and contextual (cashing in on the FIFA rage, for instance) content, joining millennial conversations, content and media innovations, etc. broke.

From an organic standpoint, DBS Bank decided to use Sachin’s social handles to post the key assets – his monologue, chat with Surojit and episodic trailers. This aspect in the strategy alone helped in garnering 3.3 million views (For the promotional content) and 660k engagements. 


  • Total views garnered: 29 MN
  • Total engagements garnered on social (likes, shares, comments): 1.03 million
  • Total views and engagements garnered from Sachin’s handles: 3.3 million views and 663k engagement
  • Average cost per view for episodes across platform: 0.57 INR
  • Average watch time per episode: 5:06 minutes (over 50% of episode 9) and 5:25 minutes (36% of episode 10)

  • Retention rate: On average, 40% of those who have watched 25% of either episode (DBS’ internal qualifier for quality views) have gone on to complete them
  • YouTube reported nearly 1000% lift in keyword searches

Sheran Mehra – Head, Group Strategic Marketing and Communications at DBS Bank India, said, “After the success of ‘Chilli Paneer’, we decided to leverage our flagship brand asset ‘Sparks’ (DBS’ mini web-series). Drawing inspiration from true stories of DBS bankers who go above and beyond to help customers, businesses and communities alike, Sparks truly personifies our ethos “Live more, Bank less”. We joined hands with our brand ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar, to ‘SparkAPurpose’ (via Sparks episodes 9 & 10), which made it a joint mission. Sachin’s shared dream to light up lives precipitated a meaningful conversation with DBS Bank, helping us move another step closer to truly making banking invisible”.