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Is STB's new tourism campaign shiok, or just silly?

The Singapore Tourism Board's latest marketing video centres on the Singlish expression for extreme pleasure, but response to it is mixed

Published on Apr 28, 2013 9:15 AM

First, Singapore was marketed as uniquely itself as a tourist destination. Then, it became yours. Now, it is "shiok" too.

The Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) latest marketing video on YouTube revolves around the Singlish expression - derived from the Malay word "syok", which means nice - for extreme pleasure. Cold ice kacang on a hot day? Shiok. The adrenaline rush of sky-diving? Shiok! Being massaged at a posh spa? Shhh...iok.

These are some of the scenes in the 21/2-minute video, produced in collaboration with British creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) and uploaded last month on STB's Your Singapore channel on the video- sharing website. At last count, the video at has attracted more than a million views.

While some are hailing the clip as a breath of colloquial fresh air, others are not exactly quivering with sheer bliss over it.

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Background story

Past taglines

  • 1977: Surprising Singapore - Singapore is depicted as a tropical paradise where East and West, old and new meet.
  • 1986: Surprisingly Singapore. A Magic Place of Magic Worlds - No additional information available on this tagline.
  • 1995: New Asia Singapore - A modern, dynamic Asian city providing regional and Western tourists with comfort, safety, good infrastructure, cultural diversity and many food options.
  • 2004: Uniquely Singapore - Showcasing quintessential Singapore experiences, with a blend of traditions, cultures and modernity.
  • 2010: YourSingapore - Singapore is sold as an experience that can be easily customised according to each visitor's interests.

Other campaigns targeted at specific regions:

  • March 2002: Live It Up Days - Aimed at an European audience to boost holiday traffic after the 9/11 attacks. It touted Singapore as a quick getaway with many direct flights from Europe.
  • December 2011: New Discoveries - Targeted at Chinese tourists who want to avoid packaged tours in favour of new, unique experiences.
  • March 2012: Get Lost And Find The Real Singapore - Launched in Australia to change the perception there that Singapore is simply a "stopover destination".
  • March 2012: The Holiday You Take Home With You - Geared towards Indian tourists who prefer to travel with their families.
  • November 2012: Only In Singapore, Right Now! - Launched in Indonesia to lure repeat visitors with what is new and upcoming. A similar campaign was launched in Malaysia in February.

Jennani Durai