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.