In February last year, more than 5.5 million adults in Hong Kong watched videos on YouTube.1 People in the city may have many options for online videos, but they say YouTube is the No. 1 video platform with content that is personal and relevant to them.2 Brands that want to connect with people in Hong Kong can take notes from those who have launched winning ad campaigns on YouTube.
To figure out the secret sauce and help brands understand how best to speak to people’s desires, we studied the winners of Hong Kong’s first YouTube Works Awards. Here’s what we found: the video campaigns embraced their audience’s mindsets, made new offerings easily relatable, and tapped into the cultural zeitgeist.
Connect with audiences by embracing their mindset
Many of the winning YouTube marketing campaigns were based on deep understanding of what makes their audiences, especially Hong Kong youth, tick — how they think, what they care about, and what moves them to act. In turn, those campaigns spoke to youth’s interests and mindsets in their communication styles.
HSBC: One Millennials Wealth
HSBC, for example, wanted to help people in their twenties save and invest to reach their life goals while still affording pleasures in the present. To connect with young people on this, the bank tapped into their mindset and way of communicating. Its campaign spoke to their desire of not wanting to be “A0,” slang for being single, available, and having zero experience in relationships.
The bank helped young people bid goodbye to their “A0” status, albeit in wealth standing, by holding a YouTube live stream that featured celebrity Keung To from the popular boy band Mirror. In the live stream, he and other young YouTube creators sought advice from investment experts about their challenges and misconceptions about wealth planning.
HSBC later repurposed the live-stream content into various video ad formats for YouTube marketing and used it to create a full-funnel campaign to raise awareness, build brand perception, and drive business results. The creative video ad campaign brought in over 10 million views, achieved the brand’s highest ever lift in awareness of 8.8%, and generated a 20% higher click-through rate for branded videos compared with previous campaigns.
McDonald’s Hong Kong: Smiling Boris — One Day Barista
McDonald’s Hong Kong set about rebranding its McCafé to be more youthful and fun by carrying out user research to better understand Hong Kong youth. It found that consumers are interested in products recommended by influencers, especially when it comes to food and restaurants, and that user-generated content feels authentic and builds trust with their audience.
Armed with this understanding of what speaks to Hong Kong youth, McDonald’s collaborated with 波仔 Boris (Smiling Boris), a popular YouTube creator, known for his love of trying new things, to promote McCafé’s new Iced Ovaltine Bubble Latte and Iced Uji Matcha Bubble Latte. He spent a day as a McCafé barista, making and serving the new drinks to fans and customers.
McDonald’s filmed his experience and the video was shared on the Smiling Boris YouTube channel. The content was also turned into creative video ads on YouTube to further amplify the campaign. The campaign video reached over 1.1 million people, which was 6X the target, and in-store purchases were almost 10X the target.
Introduce new products by making them relatable
Another thing winning video campaigns do to help brands connect with audiences is to show how their new products fit into people’s lives and feel relatable. As humans, we take comfort in what’s familiar, and savvy brands know to speak to this human desire with relatable stories and scenarios told through video.
Mox Bank Limited: Because the World is Changing
When Mox, one of Hong Kong’s first virtual banks, launched a consumer credit card, it made sure to help people understand how its new virtual banking solutions would satisfy their banking needs and advance their financial goals. It turned to YouTube’s storytelling capabilities, such as video ad sequencing, to launch a series of short videos that showed Mox’s virtual banking products being used in everyday activities such as shopping online and earning cashback.
Mox also made sure its video content was relatable to different audience segments on YouTube by using TrueView in-stream ads to deliver short, five-second versions with custom messages to various audiences. For instance, a video explaining how Mox’s credit card helps people shop online easily was delivered to people in the “shopper” affinity segment. Overall, its YouTube ad campaign generated 5.29 million video views and Mox exceeded its daily acquisition target by more than 50%.
Evoke emotion by tapping into the zeitgeist
Savvy brands in Hong Kong also connect with audiences through video campaigns that speak to the sentiment and mood in society. The emotional resonance of such campaigns builds brand love and moves individuals to share the campaigns on social media, which further boosts their impact.
TamJai SamGor: There’s No Taste Like Home
Food and beverage brand TamJai SamGor deepened its emotional connection with people in Hong Kong through its “There’s No Taste Like Home” campaign by tapping into the zeitgeist. Emigration was a hot topic in the city last year and it had stirred a sense of longing for home and a yearning for the familiar.
The restaurant chain’s long-form video, A Taste of Memories, tells the story of a Hong Konger, who upon returning to the city from overseas, heads to a TamJai SamGor store. He orders its hot and numbing soup with fish maw mixian and the dish immediately fills him with warm memories of his years growing up in Hong Kong.
The campaign struck a deep emotional chord with people in the city. The video drew more than 300,000 views, garnered 12,000 likes, and even inspired people to create related content such as theme song covers and YouTube reviews of the creative video ad. The company also became the No.1 Quick Service Restaurant in terms of brand love according to brand equity research conducted by Nielsen.
With people in Hong Kong turning to YouTube for their favorite content, it’s no wonder brands are using the platform and YouTube Advertising to create effective video ads that engage audiences. And as the winning YouTube Works campaigns show, the secret sauce to connecting with people in Hong Kong is to embrace their mindsets, be relatable, and tap into the zeitgeist.