Singapore tries to persuade Aussies it’s not boring by telling them to ‘Get lost’

The government of Singapore is fighting the city-state’s reputation for being a boring stop-over destination known only for its food and shopping centres with a campaign specifically targeting Australians.

Taglined ‘Get Lost and find the real Singapore’, a TV ad opens with an elderly Singaporean woman who says, “Hey you Aussie, you think Singapore’s got no tradition? Get lost!”

A scene follows showing a food-tossing custom known as ‘lo hei’, which neighbouring Malaysia claims to have started.

The phrase “Get lost!” might be considered rude in other Asian markets, but is not offensive in the Australian context, Singapore Tourism Board’s Oceania director Sandra Leong told Mumbrella. “It’s fun, colloquial expression,” she said.

“We know that a lot of people think Singapore is a boring place – that it’s not a very sexy destination, and is just a clean, convenient place to stop over before moving on. That’s exactly the perception we’re trying to change,” she said. ”

Australia has moved on from the perception of Singapore as ‘Disneyland with the death penalty”, a tagline used in an article that appeared in Wired magazine in the 1990’s, Leong added.

“Singapore doesn’t suffer from that stigma anymore. Australians are not the sort of people to dwell on such things,” she said.

The multi-ethnic make up of the ad was a conscious move to tackle the perception Australians have of Singaporeans being only Chinese, she added.

A social media element, including activity on the Singapore Tourism Board’s Facebook page, will not go live until April.

The campaign breaks today with the ad – created by BBH Singapore – running in cinemas in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, with support from digital and PR.

Experiential activity is to follow with a stunt in Melbourne involving a maze. A walk through the maze will reveal Singapore’s “hidden gems”.

Public relations are being handled by Frank PR, MEC is handling media.


  1. Billy C
    8 Mar 12
    2:38 pm

  2. You think it’s just shopping? -And then they show two women who are obviously shopping?

  3. Felix
    8 Mar 12
    2:47 pm

  4. Good to hear a ‘lah’ in there.

  5. Marshy
    8 Mar 12
    2:51 pm

  6. As an Aussie that lives in the ‘Pore I’m torn. It’s been an interesting place to live and is great for career. You can have a lot of fun here but you have to scratch a bit further below the surface than you do in other countries and that challenge can lead to its boring stigma.

    Good on them for having a go and I like the ‘Get lost!’ tag.

  7. Andy T.
    8 Mar 12
    3:06 pm

  8. I’d rather get lost in Melbourne with a big ball of yarn.

  9. DMF
    8 Mar 12
    3:23 pm

  10. It’s probably more G rated than “Get Phuked” in Thailand!

  11. banditboy
    8 Mar 12
    3:44 pm

  12. Yeah the melbourne campaign beats this hands down..

  13. Paris
    8 Mar 12
    3:44 pm

  14. It’s ‘where the bloody hell are you’ back at us.

  15. experiencegirl
    8 Mar 12
    5:00 pm

  16. Anyone know who is doing the experiential for this?

  17. JG
    8 Mar 12
    5:22 pm

  18. Singapore is a fine place … a fine for bringing in chewing gum, eating on the train, littering, jay-walking, smoking if there is air-conditioning …

    But I did like the old Elvis Bar!

  19. Tony Richardson
    8 Mar 12
    5:28 pm

  20. Why does so much travel advertising try to convince us the cliches are wrong?

    The Kiwis know we all expect ‘NATURE’ from NZ so they serve it up in bucket loads.

    I wrote about it here:

  21. Keith
    8 Mar 12
    5:44 pm

  22. I always liked “Singapore: it’s the Canberra of Asia!”

  23. The Worst of Perth
    8 Mar 12
    5:49 pm

  24. The Asia Beat has had this covered for ages. Changi Airport “Too interesting”.

  25. AdGrunt
    8 Mar 12
    6:14 pm

  26. No mention of the Four Floors of Whores?

  27. James
    8 Mar 12
    6:29 pm

  28. Have to agree with paris

    t’s ‘where the bloody hell are you’ back at us.

    I didn’t like that and I don’t like being told to get lost, even if well meant.

  29. Ex expat
    8 Mar 12
    7:22 pm

  30. Get lost? It’s only 30kms wide

  31. Simon
    8 Mar 12
    9:41 pm

  32. @Billy C- What they actually say is you think Singapore is all shopping centres…

    I like it and as said good to hear a lah…

  33. Rain
    8 Mar 12
    10:22 pm

  34. Re Billy Lee,

    I think what they want to say there is that Singapore is not just about shopping in big and commercial shopping centres, but there are lots of ‘underground’, local-designer shops in small alleys that many of us haven’t explore.

  35. Australian made
    8 Mar 12
    10:37 pm

  36. How about they sell it as a value destination… A couple of days there feels lik a fucking lifetime!

    Lipstick on a pig

  37. SG gal
    9 Mar 12
    9:24 am

  38. surprised STB didn’t instead draw on country’s obvious strengths and highlight them in a positive manner that engages with top influencers… perhaps by showcasing the city’s authentic offerings (heritage shophouses/architecture, Sungei wetlands, backalley SG designer boutiques, nightlife etc) – this isn’t clear who their target is, and the tagline is clunky and unappealing.

  39. Jack B. Nimble
    9 Mar 12
    11:05 am

  40. Not a bad start but agree with SG Gal, there’s a lot more they could showcase, hard to fit this into a 30 second spot but I’d suggest they need to follow this up with a series of 15-30 second spots each focussing on a specific aspect so they can dive deeper into truly ‘unique’ Singapore experiences – all we’re seeing here is a Chinatown alley (which looks prettier than most I’ve seen there), a hawker market (showing satay sticks instead of chilli crab, WOW, that’s got me booking a ticket right away!) and some greenery.

    Oh, and also agree with others who feel they should take a late-night slot for a 15-30 second spot: show some guy sitting at a boring hotel bar and saying “You think Singapore is a boring place without any action for us blokes? Get lost!” before the camera whisks you to the Four Floors of Whores or Brix!

  41. brockspur
    9 Mar 12
    1:04 pm

  42. Proposition seems flawed to me…if you’re looking for a place for an adventure you’re just not going to choose Singapore.
    For tourists, its strong points are almost the antithesis – i.e. beautiful hotels, 5* shopping, cuisine, clean & safe metro and taxis, international flavour etc.
    I presume the ambition is to become more than just a stopover destination, but I still feel they’d be better off promoting it as a 5* sanctuary for before/after you “get lost” somewhere.

  43. Al
    9 Mar 12
    1:50 pm

  44. I’ve been to Sigapore many times, each time I go there I always try to find other things to do and places to explore, sadly, there isn’t really much in Singpapore aside from it’s good food and shopping(but I’m not a shopping type). And after two weeks of staying, I find it very boring to stay longer in Singapore……Get lost? it’ll only take you 4 hours to explore the entire Sg, where else will you go??

  45. Hoin
    9 Mar 12
    2:51 pm

  46. Is this Singapore’s “Where the bloody hell are you”?

  47. Devil's advocaat
    9 Mar 12
    4:03 pm

  48. Good campaign from the STB.

    But @AdGrunt

    Indeed they have missed out SG’s premier tourist attraction, The Four Floors of Whores’ Ipanema Bar.

    @SG Girl

    Don’t forget that the STB looks to increase the spend her head and would rather keep you in urban areas spending money and not walking around Sungei or Bukit Timah having fun for free.

    @Tony Richardson

    Big up yourself lah! Get lost.

  49. Andy W
    9 Mar 12
    4:08 pm

  50. Wow really disappointing representation of Singapore.
    You think Singapore is boring? This ad makes it look so. Lucky I have been there and know otherwise

  51. Big Marn
    9 Mar 12
    4:13 pm

  52. I think the ad campaign can get lost. I understand where they are coming from, but not sure if the slogan will appeal to the right target market.

  53. chopper
    10 Mar 12
    2:14 am

  54. they might have chosen the right stuff to show. they might not (four floors sounds good)
    but more important than that, is tone. personality.
    I feel a bit bad. and good. like the ignored boring kid in class just showed himself to have some moves.
    ok, kid. you have our attention. what next?