After the massive criticism it faced online for its recent video aimed at attracting visitors from The Philippines, Oliver Chong, executive director, communications & industry marketing, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has stepped up to defend the work.
Chong said in a statement to Marketing that this video was produced for the Philippines by Philippine network ABS-CBN "in an effort to customise content for this audience."
Chong said that the video received a good response from the Philippines market. Chong said that when shared on STB’s Facebook page for the Philippines, the video attracted over 3,400 likes in the first week and garnered some 900 comments, largely positive.
“Nevertheless, we thank readers for their feedback on the video and acknowledge that some aspects of it could have been done better. We would also like to invite the public to share their ideas on how we can continue to showcase the Singapore we love to the rest of the world,” said Chong.
However, if the video received such a positive response, why was it pulled, Marketing asked. STB did not respond to this follow up question, at the time of writing, saying it would give an update later.
STB's Chong shared his response: "We often share our marketing videos on the STB YouTube channel. At the end of its TV run in the Philippines, we decided to also share this particular video on YouTube. We subsequently removed it as it was not resonating well with audiences. In the meantime, we have found some of the responses and spoofs that have been shared online to be creative and clever. We once again invite the public to share their ideas with us at STB_Comms@stb.gov.sg."
What Filipinos have to say
Filipinos gave their take on the video, with responses being mixed.
Marco Almira, 22 said while the ad might not work, the "acting" will get a few laughs. “I think that if they cut all the dialogue it might have worked a lot better - like the Malaysia Truly Asia ads.There's no hokey back and forth - just shots of what you'd actually go up there to see,” Almira.
Marketing Philippines' editor Oliver Bayani said that the STB has a lot to contend with, as BBDO's "It's more fun in the Philippines" has set the bar quite high. He added that the reflection on Filipinos was offending. "If the video (was supposed to) reflect research on Filipino tastes, then yes I am offended. It's either the data was wrong or the creative sensibilities of the agency behind it was broken at that time. The biggest question I guess is why it was approved by the STB," said Bayani.
Joven Barceñas, 29, said that the ad didn’t work on him and looks as though it is only promoting Gardens by the Bay and the cable car. “There's more to see in Singapore. The storyboard is so long and boring, scripts are dry. Also the surprise at the end of the girl being pregnant doesn’t match the tone of the rest of the video.”
Carlo Reston, 29, said the video is actually not that bad, adding that it could still appeal to Filipinos. “I think the message was clear, but the execution didn't have the ‘wow’ element they were trying to achieve. It could still attract tourists from the Philippines, though. Filipinos are family oriented so the video will likely work on us,” said Reston.
According to Today online, Singapore has newly announced it will set aside up to SG$15 million to enhance the tourist experience and capture growth opportunities.