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STB introduces Merli in a bid to attract families with young children

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has unveiled a new avatar for the Republics’s mythical national icon – the Merlion. Created as  a heart-warming and whimsical illustration of the Republic’s mythical national icon, Merli, short for Merlion, is a character that STB hopes will appeal to families with young children, one of STB’s key target consumer segments.

According to STB, it will be featuring Merli in its global marketing efforts where appropriate.

“We came up with this endearing character, based on our beloved Merlion, to build a stronger emotional connection with families and to entrench Singapore’s brand awareness among them,” said Lim Shoo Ling, director, brand, STB.

With an adorable smile and a Sanrio like feel, it’s not difficult to feel drawn towards Singapore Tourism Boards new character Merli. She added that Merli, a younger version of the iconic mythical Merlion as market research showed that consumers, especially families with young children, have a great affinity for mascot characters. Hence, STB felt that it would be timely to develop a young Merlion character to better build awareness of the Passion Made Possible brand among consumers.

“We appointed Big 3 Media, via an open tender, to design the character. The design development process took into consideration feedback from families with young children within and outside Singapore to ensure relevance to the segment,” she said. She added that in releasing the Merli character, STB’s top markets with a high proportion of family segment include China, India and Southeast Asia.

“We will be rolling out the character extensively through all our regional offices for in-market activities,” she said.

The main objectives of creating the Merli character was to build further brand awareness of Passion Made Possible and strengthening emotional connection with consumers, especially families with young children.

The first few activities in Singapore involving Merli are sticker giveaways at the Singapore Visitor Centre, release of GIF stickers on social media platforms subsequently, and distribution of stickers and bag tags at an upcoming Formula 1 charity event.

To introduce Merli to Singapore, Merli stickers will be given away free at the Orchardgateway Singapore Visitor Centre (SVC)1 from 27th June 2018 to 3rd July 2018. The stickers come in a set of six on a single sheet, featuring Merli in six different poses. Merli will also appear on social media platforms around the world in the form of GIF comments and GIF stickers.

For overseas markets, STB will be focusing in the new few months on featuring him through sticker and souvenir giveaways and mascot appearances at appropriate trade and consumer events and activities.

Here are some facts about STB’s Merli character:

  •  Merli is energetic and outgoing, and has many friends from Singapore and around the world. Whenever his friends visit, Merli takes the opportunity to show them the best and most interesting parts of Singapore.
  • In addition to showcasing Singapore, Merli makes it a point to treat his friends to his favourite food – kaya toast – which he loves for its unique taste. In short, Merli is passionate about wanting visitors to love Singapore as much as he does.
  • In his free time, Merli also often embarks on adventures around the country, making new friends wherever he goes. He believes that he will always learn something new and interesting by exploring Singapore.

 

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