PUB builds on water campaign after young girl in 1978 news clipping finds herself on OOH poster

Following its recent "We have come a long way" campaign launched in March, PUB has unveiled a new piece of marketing content with consumer Elaine Teo, who spotted herself in an OOH poster for the campaign launched in March this year. Teo was one of the young girls photographed in 1978 to depict the water shortage and struggles the nation had to endure. 

Teo had reached out to Marketing after spotting herself in the campaign poster, and was subsequently connected to Tribal Worldwide Singapore, the appointed creative agency of PUB. The agency then conducted a video interview with Teo to share her story, and also surprised her with a framed copy of the campaign visual at the end. In the interview, Teo and her brother shared their story growing up, and shed light about the frequent floods back in the past. The video, which was posted on PUB's Facebook page, has since garnered 274 positive reactions with netizens commenting that it was heartwarming and that it "warmed the cockles of their heart". Watch it here:

In a statement to Marketing, Benson Toh, creative director at Tribal Worldwide Singapore said that the film took approximately two to three months to be produced, from conceptualisation to execution. He also hopes that Teo's story encourages others to share their own water story from back in the day, or perhaps accounts from their parents or grandparents.

"Teo's story gives a lot more meaning to our ad, as opposed to just a girl in a tub. It shed light on how Singaporeans coped during severe floods 40 years ago and in contrast, reminds us of how far we’ve come in our water story," Toh said, adding that the agency surprised her with a framed picture because she does not have a copy of the photo, and it thought it would be a lovely gesture to thank Teo for sharing her story.

According to PUB, Teo's story is a manifestation of its efforts to turn the spotlight on Singapore's past and draw attention to how far the country has come in terms of water security. At the time when the picture was taken, Singapore was plagued by disruptive floods and water rations. The story ties in with PUB's aim of the campaign, which is to remind Singaporeans to safeguard what has been achieved, and make every drop count to bolster the growing population's water security.

Pleased to have regained a lost memory, Teo said in the interview that she is using the opportunity to teach her children about Singapore's past. Similar to PUB, Teo is looking to educate the next generation about water as a precious resource. Tribal Worldwide Singapore's Toh said the agency's job is to bring stories to life for consumers to buy into. "Teo has stepped off the pages of our campaign, and is a living, breathing manifestation of the exact narrative we have created for PUB," he added. 

PUB and Tribal Worldwide Singapore are known for its films that tug on the heartstrings of viewers. In line with Hari Raya last year, PUB launched a tear-jerking short film titled "Kinship" that was inspired by a Malay proverb “air dicincang tidak akan putus” that translates to “Water doesn’t break apart when you chop it”. The film got the attention of many Singaporeans, with many who said they were touched by the film.

Separately for Chinese festival Qing Ming, PUB also unveiled a film titled "The Frog Prince", which told the story of a poor family with a kim zua (joss sticks and paper offerings) business in the 1980s. The film was inspired by a Chinese proverb "木有本, 水有源” which translates to "Every tree has its roots, every river has its source", which signified that the values our parents impart to us are as precious as water.

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