This article was first published on April 9, 2014 and updated on May 26, 2015
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has rolled out three new videos it hopes will attract more Australian, Chinese and Filipino tourists here.
These videos, which are part of marketing campaigns in the three countries, include a 10-minute short film directed by local director Royston Tan.
With a travel lull looming because of tougher regional competition and a strong Singapore dollar, STB has embarked on a global marketing campaign to draw visitors here during the nation’s Golden Jubilee year.
In April 2015, STB announced a $20-million global marketing campaign it co-funded with the tourism industry. The campaign targeted tourists from seven countries – Indonesia, China, India, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
Check out the latest videos:
Here's a look back at the agency's past tourism campaigns.
In 1984, the tourism board, known as Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) then, launched its first branding exercise. It ran for 11 years until 1995. The slogan came about because of an observation that many tourists were surprised to find Singapore different from what they had expected. An article from The Straits Times in 1979, before the launch of the campaign, said: "Visitors often express surprise over the city's clean and green image, its safe streets and the quality of the hotels and their services."
TWO GREAT COUNTRIES, ONE GREAT HOLIDAY
In 1991, STPB came up with the tagline "Fascinating Malaysia, Surprising Singapore, two great countries, one great holiday". It was part of a US$1 million (S$1.75 million) campaign to promote Singapore and Malaysia as a dual-destination for tourists. The campaign ran for two years in Korea, Canada, the United States, Finland and Sweden. There was print advertising and trade support to enlist the co-operation of travel agents in the five target countries to promote Malaysia and Singapore and organise tour packages to both destinations.
NEW ASIA SINGAPORE
In 1996, with the slogan "New Asia Singapore", STPB repositioned Singapore as a tourist destination. The tagline then was "New Asia Singapore: So easy to enjoy, so hard to forget". The tagline was said to capture the essence of Singapore which, located at the heart of the world's most active economic region, had managed to preserve and nurture its Asian heritage, according to Mr Tan Chin Nam, then chief executive of STPB.
In 2003, a campaign called Singapore Roars! was started to get more travellers in the post-Sars period, when travel numbers had dipped drastically. The campaign cost $200 million and lasted six months. It included several big events like Bollywood Extravaganza and the World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown and a two-day ZoukOut. Hundreds of travel packages and deals were introduced to woo visitors back.
In 2004, STB launched its Uniquely Singapore brand, which had a lukewarm reception. But the tagline did work out and it became commonly known among the locals as well as visitors.
STB also marketed Singapore with the romantic angle.
In 2010, STB rebranded its Uniquely Singapore campaign to YourSingapore, which it says "underpins Singapore’s strengths as a destination, that is, an experience which can be easily personalised".
In 2013, STB launched its Singapore Shiok video, which showed a Caucasian man struggling to pronounce the Singlish expression for extreme pleasure, then earning his Singaporean friends' approval when he finally succeeds. The video drew mixed reactions. Some thought it was a clever play on a uniquely Singaporean concept, but others felt it was patronising to foreigners and some parts of the video seemed to be stretching the meaning of "shiok" a little.
Besides these, STB has also come up with campaigns that were targeted at specific regions, such as this one telling Australians to "Get lost" that was started in March 2012.
THE HOLIDAY YOU TAKE HOME WITH YOU
That same month, STB launched a campaign titled "The holiday you take home with you" that was aimed at people on the Indian sub-continent. Indian actress Mandira Bedi starred in the video which showed off Singapore's charm.
In 2013, the board even produced a short web series for the Thailand market called Infinite Love.
In 2014, STB released a video produced by Philippine network ABS-CNB in an effort to customise content for the country's audiences, The video went viral, and was even picked up by British newspaper The Telegraph, but for all the wrong reasons - its low production quality, and cheesy script. STB at the time acknowledged that the video could have been done better.
The advertisement was uploaded to STB’s Facebook page for the Philippines. It was also shared on its YouTube channel and featured on TV there. STB later withdrew the video.
HIT ONLINE VIDEOS
As part of a new global marketing campaign in 2015, the Singapore Tourism Board rolled out three new videos for the Australian, Chinese and Filipino markets.
There were positive reactions from Chinese viewers to a short film about a Beijing school boy's trip to Singapore on an exchange programme. The 10-minute video, directed by award-winning Singapore director Royston Tan, combines heartwarming family scenes with colourful snippets of attractions in Singapore.
For the Filipino market, a music video starring Filipino indie band Up Dharma Down playing their latest single “All the Good Things" was uploaded on Youtube. The band plays at the Marina Barrage, and are seen at Haji Lane and the Southern Ridges.
A video about song bird corners for the Australian market has hit more than 50,000 views since February. The Australian video cannot be viewed in Singapore because of copyright issues.