Britons unconvinced by YourSingapore

Various Singapore-themed “listicles” have been popping up on British newspaper The Guardian’s website. Sponsored by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), these lists detail everything that the well-heeled tourist can expect from our island nation, from nightlife, to architecture, and the perennial favourite, food.  The articles are written by Singaporeans well-versed in their own field. The author of the “Top 10 restaurants in Singapore” article, is Aun Koh, the son of Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large for Singapore. Aun also runs a food blog under the name Chubby Hubby.

Unfortunately these lists inadvertently highlighted how limited our options here are, with restaurant Wild Rocket mentioned in three different lists. The topic choices have also been puzzling. Would Britons really be interested in “Singapore outdoor spaces”? Seriously?

While the motive of the articles seem to be clear – STB wants a slice of the British tourist pound – it’s the comments section that provides the best reading. In the latest Singapore-related article (“Top 10 restaurants in Singapore”),  readers voiced their unhappiness with the pro-Singapore mantra:

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Even Singaporeans are offended.

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While any mentions about the existence of cheaper food in Singapore were quickly met with a brief reply:

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Why Britain

Earlier this year, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) wrote several articles about Singapore, mostly about how expensive it is to live here. While it might be a bit of a stretch to accuse STB’s actions as damage control, this initiative is surely a way to remind British audiences of our sunny island which was once part of the British Empire.

The campaign could also be a method of cashing in on our newfound popularity after being named the number one country to travel in 2015 by Lonely Planet. That honour didn’t sit well with netizens either.

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STB Fails At Advertising Again?

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If anything, this series of articles has proved to be a lesson on how not to advertise. Sadly, sponsored content does not mean slapping together a poorly conceptualised listicle. STB managed to get many key fundamentals about content creation and native advertising horribly wrong.

Advertising with The Guardian is not cheap, we estimate the campaign could have cost as much as 100k.  As always, it’s interesting to see how STB burns allocates their advertising money. Here’s a reminder somewhere closer to home, of what happened the last time.

What do you think of all the money pumped into this advertising campaign?


Featured Image via The Guardian