MANILA, PHILIPPINES — There’s nothing scarier in the digital age than losing access to the one thing that connects you with all of your loved ones and other important contacts at the touch of a button — your personal phone number. Ahead of the SIM registration deadline that has been extended for another 90 days, independent creative agency and mobile brand demonstrate the consequences of not registering your SIM in a new series of videos blasted on social media.
The first video released on April 15, Hu u po? starts off with a chilling atmosphere, enough to make one think it’s a teaser for the next best thriller. In the pouring rain, a woman knocks at the gate of a house where a father and son are residing. The woman shouts, claiming she’s the son’s mom and that she has a new, albeit unregistered, mobile number. Unable to confirm if it’s his son’s mom, the father steps in to confront his supposed wife and accuses her of being a scammer for having an unregistered SIM. The father and son hold each other in a tight embrace, afraid of what the woman might say next to try and fool them. The story ends with the woman being shunned by her own “family,” then claims to know the other people passing by in the neighborhood in an attempt to seek shelter from the rain and be let in to their homes.
In the clever story, the mother’s lines imitate that of the well-known scripts citizens know all too well and have been receiving from scammers since the dawn of texting. The subtitles are formatted to mimic how people text, strengthening the idea that the exchange happening in the video happens digitally as well. The viral video has garnered a total of 37 million views across YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok at the time of writing and an overwhelming amount of positive responses from the public since its release on April 15.
Following in the footsteps of Hu u po? is comedic clip, OTP Please, released on April 19. A more candid take on the failure to adhere to SIM registration, the short video depicts a man at a remittance stall to claim cash transferred to his account. The teller asks for an OTP (a one-time password sent via text) to confirm the man’s identity. The man says he doesn’t have an OTP since he hasn’t registered his SIM, to which the teller says she’ll be unable to verify his identity without it.
This prompts the man to show off his important documents tattooed on his body to prove his identity: his graduation photo (a nudge and wink to a recent public issue), driver’s license, and SSS ID. But without his signature on them, the woman instead asks for his birth certificate, which he has inked on his derriere. She inspects the tattoo and has him make photocopies of it. The video ends with the man obliging the request and sitting on a photocopy machine to print his birth certificate.
Our phones are always with us which makes it easier to verify our identity through OTPs. Without having a registered SIM, the man instead chooses to permanently have his other important documents with him through tattoos. The cunning comparison of the convenience of having your phone versus IDs with you shows the importance of registering your SIM to avoid hassle and embarrassing moments like what he experienced. The video has been viewed over 11.6 million times across YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok at the time of writing and received positive responses from people.
The dystopian-like occurrence shows how slow and boring life would be without the instant updates on social media, and depicts what would happen to those who don’t register their SIM and therefore can’t use data. The video has garnered nearly 3 millions views across YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok at the time of writing, with viewers expressing how funny they found the latest story.
The agency behind the ingenious shorts, GIGIL, shared its inspiration behind the stories it created to convey the important message of SIM registration. Adobo Magazine spoke with GIGIL Senior Strategic Planner Nanais Hernandez on the insight the campaign hinged on.
“We found the irony of this project’s context quite interesting — D-day for SIM registration is fast approaching, yet people have no sense of urgency to register their SIM,” Nanais began. “And we found out that what causes this complacency is that they don’t really know what will happen if they don’t register.”
“We jumped off from a fairly simple insight, ‘walang connection, walang buhay.’” Nanais explained how Filipinos rely heavily on their network connections as it is a means to build relationships and even be entertained. “Not registering your SIM is like cutting off one’s lifeline,” she added.
Nanais shared that while the insight was true, it did come off quite dark. However, they still wanted TNT’s signature quirkiness and witty personality to shine through. “We infused that in our materials to still reflect how bleak life would be without a SIM connection, but done so in a humorous way that only TNT could pull off. This will make people want to watch our films, and ultimately register their SIM.”
“The entire process was actually like TNT — it was fun, light, and full of LOLs! Our client Sir Francis Flores, along with his team, was very much supportive of our ideas, and he’d be the first to encourage us to push them even further. There was close collaboration between TNT and GIGIL all throughout. Kitang-kita naman sa finished product!” Nanais exclaimed.
So far, GIGIL’s viral videos has helped drive the number of Smart and TNT SIM registrations to 2.3 million.