The Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) has launched its latest iteration of Christmas on A Great Street, an annual Christmas light-up event on Orchard Road. Themed "Christmas in Bloom", the 38th edition of the light-up features an AR element and celebrates a journey of hope and resilience with an array of immersive attractions. This comes as businesses along Singapore’s iconic shopping strip hopes for a return to normalcy.
For the first time, the sidewall of Mandarin Orchard Singapore, owned by OUE Commercial REIT, will use AR technology to transform into a wall of wonder with multimedia projections. The 10-minute clip, which will run at scheduled intervals, will see Singapore tourism mascots Merli and friends shop for gifts, decorate the Christmas tree and enjoy a sumptuous dinner. OUE Limited is the official venue partner of Christmas on A Great Street 2021.
The wall will also feature branded content by luxury brand watch TUDOR, the official timekeeper of Christmas on A Great Street.
Viewers on Orchard Road can download PopAR, a mobile application, to enhance their viewing experience with immersive AR effects. The countdown clock for Christmas Day and the New Year will also move from its traditional location at the Scotts-Paterson Road junction to this digital wall.
ORBA worked with Saffron Communications for marketing, and with Hexogon Group of Companies, the agency behind this year's NDP projections, for the giant outdoor AR video projection and Virtual Street. ORBA also reappointed Q's Advertising for the conceptualisation, design and planning logistics of the street light-up. OBRA declined to disclose the monetary value of the campaign.
Hitachi Asia continues to reprise its role as a long-standing sponsor for Christmas on A Great Street for the 31st consecutive year, while Mastercard remains the official card partner for the ninth year running.
From 13 November to 24 December, Mastercard is handing out SG$30 e-mall vouchers to the first 100 Mastercard shoppers who spend SG$300 each week at any of the 11 participating malls. Among the list of 11 malls include 313@somerset, Forum The Shopping Mall, Mandarin Gallery, Orchard Central, Paragon, Tanglin Mall and Wisma Atria.
Additionally, ORBA also collaborated with Lazada Singapore as the official eCommerce partner to create the first-ever Orchard Road dedicated campaign page that will feature digital goods from Orchard Road hotels, malls, retailers and restaurants. OBRA's spokesperson said that this will allow shoppers to shop for the best value deals comfortably at homes before heading down to Orchard Road. "We also work with Mastercard, our official card, to offer shoppers exclusive shopping rewards and promotions at 11 participating malls located at Orchard Road," the spokesperson added.
ORBA chairman Mark Shaw said that it is excited for this year's light-up despite a long and arduous year where its members saw significant disruptions to their businesses. “We believe Christmas and the New Year is an ideal time for us to focus on hope and goodwill and to remind ourselves that despite the challenges we face, we have much to be thankful for and to look forward to. And most importantly, we can celebrate with our loved ones and show support to everyone on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19," he added.
This year's light-up draws inspiration from Singapore’s botanical richness and the interior of ribbed vault architecture which exudes a feeling of being safe, an especially needed quality during the pandemic. The main arch at the Scotts-Paterson Road junctions features a burst of colourful lights accented by red and rose gold poinsettias, a traditional Christmas flower that symbolises purity and mirth. Meanwhile, the stretch from Cairnhill junction to The Atrium@Orchard sees blooming white Christmas roses in striking contrast to the champagne gold light arches on which they are perched.
At the other end of Orchard Road, from Tanglin Mall to the Paterson junction, red poinsettias are positioned on red and rose gold arches. The vault inspiration is seen in the over-street arches of lights, which feature a bold combination of neon and fairy lights.
Music in the Air also returns this year, after its last appearance in 2018. From 1 November 2021, shoppers walking along the stretch between ION Orchard and Ngee Ann City will hear recorded tunes from popular Christmas carols on Christmas eve and New Year’s eve, complementing the visual experience at the giant outdoor projection.
Additionally, a virtual tour of the light-up will be launched on 19 November 2021 as well. Similar to last year, people in Singapore and abroad can enjoy Christmas on A Great Street virtually from the comforts of their homes by hopping onto a microsite featuring 360-degree views along the 3.11 km stretch from Tanglin Mall to Plaza Singapura. According to a media statement by ORBA, this year's virtual tour will showcase better video quality and greater immersion with augmented reality features allowing for enhanced interaction and sound. To enhance street vibrancy, 10 hotspots along the virtual tour will also showcase local buskers and musicians with their performances.
Furthermore, ORBA will once again collaborate with the Community Chest to stage the Light-Up Ceremony, which will be officiated by President Halimah Yacob at ION Orchard. A livestream is available on Community Chest's Facebook page for viewers at home. In the spirit of Christmas, ORBA will continue to partner with Lions of Healthcare and other partners on an initiative to recognise the contributions of frontline workers including healthcare personnel, security guards, delivery staff and teachers, offering them promotions for shopping, dining and services. Visitors can also nominate a frontline hero by sharing an inspiring story of resilience on Christmas on A Great Street's microsite for a chance to win prizes for themselves and their heroes.
Serene Tan, director, retail and dining, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said that the light-up is a signature year-end highlight for Orchard Road, putting smiles on shoppers' faces and bringing cheer to Singapore’s iconic shopping street. "There’s much to discover both physically and virtually, from the dazzling decorations to the latest brands and experiential offerings. As we journey towards becoming a COVID-19 resilient nation, we invite everyone to enjoy the festivities and rediscover the exciting offerings at Orchard Road safely and responsibly," she added.
Separately, STB, Urban Redevelopment Authority and National Parks Board came up with a plan to strengthen Orchard Road’s position as a “must-visit lifestyle destination” last January. The plan has two main thrusts, which is to make Orchard Road ‘The Lifestyle Destination’ and to "Bring Back the Orchard". As a lifestyle destination, Orchard Road would offer differentiated experiences to bring out the unique identity of each sub-precinct - Tanglin, Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut.
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