Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Singapore: Creative Wasteland?

January 15, 2009

Came across yet another interesting read, this time from  The article is about creativity in the advertising field in Singapore.  Advertising agencies are at the frontline of creativity, having to balance their creative ideas with practical expectations of their clients as part of their daily tasks, so if an agency is saying that Singapore “is a creative wasteland that lacks a distinct culture or even a soul”, we might be condemned to being a city in spite of the best intentions.

“Unlike countries like Japan, the Singapore market is very small,” he says. “We don’t have a big enough niche market or enough early adopters to spawn creativity. As a result, many of our creative talents end up churning out creative pieces that will cater to the masses. It’s not their fault but this is reality and commercialisation, and this I think is the root of the problem.”


Raffles Place Ghost video

May 9, 2008

A recent viral video sensation in Singapore turned out to be a hoax. It started with a video, allegedly some CCTV footage of an elevator in an office building, with a couple of dudes just standing and chatting in the elevator. As they walk out of the elevator, a mysterious hunchbacked figure appears from one of the guys’ shadow, and lingers for a while before slowly lumbering out of the elevator. This video caused quite a rage in the local press (think WanBao) and it got a jillion hits on YouTube, with commenters debating whether it was real or fake. A blog soon popped up on, allegedly started by a group of university students who were investigating the video. Several more videos featuring strange “paranormal” activity in offices at night were featured on the blog. On Labour Day, the big announcement came – it was a fake video, created by a job search company called GMP, under the guise of warning people not to work late at night in case you see ghosts. Check out the explanation video here:

I have to admit, when I first heard that this was a hoax video as part of a marketing campaign, I was shocked. They got the eyeballs they desired – 169,465 views on YouTube as of this post; They captured the attention of mainstream traditional media; they engaged the blogging community in more discussions of the video on their accompanying blog. Unfortunately, they faltered when they decided to release that lame-ass explanation video with a direct link to the website.

According to The Feed Company, which was behind the wildly successful viral video campaign, RayBan’s “Catch”, social video’s audience would “rather be part of the campaign than be marketed to” (see their white paper on social video here). That means less “look at me, buy me” sort of ads, and more interactive, user-centric campaigns. The big corporations are realizing this as well, as evidenced by the Google video that featured people passing a Gmail envelope around, or the more recent Microsoft Ultimate Video Relay, all of which feature user-generated content. GMP was doing it right, creating buzz with their video which was actually chilling to watch, but they also created the biggest anti-climax ever in Singapore’s new media history when they had a corporate talking head making some tenuous link between ghosts, working late at night and finding the right job.

From an interview with the head of The Feed Company on Adweek:

What’s the risk for brands not being upfront that videos are ads?
We believe in a level of transparency. And transparency could be saying it’s an ad. It’s about not lying. [Not acknowledging sponsorship] is like going to a social event or party and not telling people your real name.

GMP’s like the irritating kid at banking/consulting recruiting sessions who displays the “Hello my name is” sticker tag prominently above his left breast pocket and has a fake, irritating grin plastered on his face, nodding fervently at everything the recruiter says. Watching the explanation video made me turn away in disgust at how lame and irrelevant their campaign was.

Nevertheless, they got my attention. And as the first viral campaign that captured the attention of the online community in Singapore, hats off to them. Please just put more effort into a proper, satisfying ending, and don’t leave us with a bad taste in our mouths.

As a reference, check out RayBan’s “Catch”:

as well as Levi’s viral video:

and Coor’s lower-budget video:

Also, Gawker dissects these videos here (Levi’s) and here (Coors).

[This post was inspired in part by a conversation with my roommate last night, who said that “everything in Singapore is just gross”.]

More info:

$100K spent on Raffles Place hoax –
Horror in Singapore – Raffles Place Ghost Video