Marketing & Branding: Singapore Tourism Board

Sorry for the blogging silence. I’ve been travelling and buried under too much work and contemplating many new ideas as well as working on a new website design re-launch. Stay tuned!

I was most recently back home in Singapore. Having been away for 10 years, I find myself more alienated each time I come home. Not just getting lost with the mega mall complexes and those atas chichi restaurants and watering holes that have sprung up or that plate of char kuey teow that now costs more than twice it used to.


I know that Singapore has become the rich’s playground, kind of like the Switzerland of the East and is now home to the largest number of the world’s millionaires per square footage.

It’s become a place so alien from where I grew up, it makes me a little sad. And then I look carefully at branding campaigns from the Tourism Board as a proud Singaporean to try to bridge this sense of alienation and I never get the messaging – it’s vague, it’s cool without depth or meaning that doesn’t do the country, culture nor its people justice. So what happened there?

And what is “Your Singapore” for a slogan? It’s taken all its rich cultural identity out of the mix. I much preferred uniquely Singapore – even if it’s a bad tagline.

Sometime ago, I saw this at Changi Airport when I arrived. I love this M&Ms holding a hedgehog and durian at Changi airport – it makes me chuckle as a Singaporean, stereotypes done well in context.

As I flew out of Changi Airport last week, there was a plane mascot called Max wearing flip flops and a group of students dressed in tropical shirts hired to scream and shout like ardent fans. And then I asked – who is Max? No one knew. And what is the promotion for? To promote holidays? To where? What? How? Is it about Singapore? Changi Airport? Budget airline? Who’s approved this idea? where’s this budget spend going? What’s the objective of this?



Why isn’t there quality countrol over content? Doing adhoc roadshows and campaigns like this is confusing and a waste of time and money. I tried googling to understand more, nothing out there. Not even a penny on SEO.

Really, what is the Singapore Tourism Board doing? Or the marketing team at Changi Airport? What is the messaging? I’m lost and I can’t make sense of any of it. I guess it’s time to go home soon to serve my country. Clearly, there seems to be a need with messaging, branding and going beyond the cool and novel sell of the next coolest/biggest iconic building or activity. There’s no core or depth to this identity and not sustainable in the long run. The last great thing they did was the PR stunt with Gordon Ramsey cooking hawker food that went viral – that again isn’t sustainable. We need to dig deeper into the core.

You can watch the random video I made on Max on instagram <a href=”” target=”_blank”>here</a>.

Juliana Loh

Juliana is a freelance marketing communications strategist with more than a decade of experience in the field of advertising, journalism and luxury hospitality, with a focus on China and the Asia Pacific region.

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