The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

What Is Love ….
April 21, 2009, 6:43 am
Filed under: Comment

Well I tell you what it isn’t, it’s not this …

What you have just watched is a commercial by the Singaporean Government … a commercial designed to promote the beauty of family.

It is getting lots of praise.

In Singapore.

Some people are saying it is a beautifully crafted piece of film.

Some are saying it has been written with real sensitivity.

Some are saying it is a brave commercial.

I say they must be living in a cave.

I hate this commercial.

I’m not saying that to be contrary … I’m saying it because it is one of the most contrived pieces of advertising I’ve seen in a long, long time.

The whole thing seems to be a mish mash of 1970’s ‘jokes’ … 1980’s Hollywood love story musical scores … 1990’s advertising storylines and 2000’s Singaporean attitudes.

Which means it’ll probably work.

In Singapore.

With people who already have families.

Putting aside the fact it’s pretty pathetic a Government body has to do an ad telling people how important family is [but then they do ads that tell people not to steal!] I think associating love with farts and coughs is very disappointing…

Mind you, Singapore is a country that has hundreds of thousands of people who think love is a new Prada bag or a Porsche so moving it away from materialism is probably a step in the right direction.

Look I appreciate how farts, coughs, burps and snoring can become elements you ‘miss’ when a loved ‘goes’ … but it’s not really because you like your senses being assaulted by sounds and smells, it’s because they represent physical elements of a person who gave you protection, love, laughter and friendship.

Love is way more than just a persons imperfections … love is many things, most of which you haven’t a hope in hell of being able to express with any justice …

This commercial isn’t a beautifully crafted piece of film.

To be honest, I don’t even know what that really means … except it seems to be an excuse some people use for crap content.

And sensitivity?

They’re using FEAR to promote love for fucks sake. [But then that’s in the Singaporean Government’s DNA]

Which leads us to brave.

For me, when people say something is ‘brave’ it tends to be a nice way of saying ‘stupid’.

Real bravery – at least in adland – should come across as sound logic.

When Fallon did the Skoda ads [when VW had bought the brand] and took the piss out of the car’s “badge” – that wasn’t brave, that was being pragmatic and relevant.

When Jack In The Box thumbed their nose at healthy eating and celebrated they made fatty food – that wasn’t brave, that was being truthful and targeting the exact market who enjoyed their food.

When the Singaporen Government used a funeral as a metaphor for the importance of love and family, that wasn’t brave, that was more lowest common denominator communication from a country that seems obsessed with scare mongering and Mr Bean stye communication.

This ad shows how few agencies understand emotion.

It’s not about shoving in a swirling soundtrack or using actors with tears in their eye … it’s about writing from the heart and touching the heart … and whilst I am sure the guys behind the spot think they’ve produced a moment of Hollywood magic, they haven’t and it is worth remembering that in the movies, they have 2 hours to try and evoke a response and most times they fail to produce anything other than a yawn.

There are some great ads that can move people in 30 seconds … ads that change how people fundamentally feel and think … but this isn’t one of them, no where close.

If the Singaporean Government really wanted to do an ‘ad’ that promoted the value of family love … an ‘ad’ that made people stop, think, reconsider and reconnect … then they should of checked out the brilliant DAYSWITHMYFATHER

I’ve written how brilliant this is before … and whist some could claim it also conveys a message of ‘fear’, I would disagree because you can ‘feel’ how this has been done from the heart and that means something that does have a touch of sadness to it becomes something quite different … something that is inspiring and beautiful.

I appreciate some people will have a different opinion to the Government ad to me … and that’s fine as everyone is entitled to their opinion … so for what its worth, here’s mine …

Terrible ad … Terrible strategy … Terrible use of Government money.

68 Comments so far
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as usual youre ranting like a 90 year old fishwife with tourettes but this time the shit youre spouting is good. fucking good.

the singaporean ad is pants. its pants for all the reasons you describe but most of all for showing that an agency and government department think the people of singapore are incapable of thinking for themselves.

ive seem more emotion in a roger ramjet cartoon than this pile of wank. if all you miss about a loved one is their farts and coughs then they must be a pretty shit person. as usual some planner and some creative have gone for the lowest common denominator version of love. a version that fits into 30 seconds and that people can consume like bubblegum but bubblegum doesnt leave an impression on you and you get rid of it as soon as the flavour has gone so all this ad has done is blow a fuckload of taxes.

its fucking shit, lazy and embarrassing. even a fucking italian general would find it hard to call this brave so i guess it says singaporeans are more fucking cowardly than the itis. fact.

and people say “beautifully shot” when they know the content has no fucking value at all. when something is good they say “that was amazing and beautifully shot” but if they just talk about the photography quality its almost a backhanded compliment. and this isnt beautifully shot both in style or colours whichs shows they know fuck all.

this is a good post because its made me care and get angry and i am angry, really really fucked off. the brilliant jack in the box and skoda ads are great reminders of what sensible bravery is, but its your unplanned bollocks really isnt it. i fucking hope some planners and creatives read this because theres actually some fucking good lessons here. they might have to look a bit deeper than the normal superficial shit they do but it might be worth it because if i knew the people behind that singapore shit id tell them the only honourable thing left to do is suicide

Comment by andy@cynic

Between Rob and Andy I think every single issue with this commercial and Singaporean advertising has been covered with a few additional lessons for the rest of adland thrown in. And you’re right Rob, “days with my father” represents more emotion in one picture than this ad could achieve even if it ran for 3 hours rather than 3 minutes.

Comment by Pete

If ever there was a day to praise your husband or say how good he was you’d think his fucking funeral would be that day and yet all she does is take the piss out of his snoring and farting.

You were right to divorce her Andy, she’s a fucking bitch. 🙂

Comment by Billy Whizz

everything that is terrible about this ad has already been covered. and yes, i think it is very terrible. when i saw it i thought it was some tasteless joke. especially as it had been posted on youtube on 1st april…
i think the spot is so very shallow and out of taste. i can t imagine that someone who has just lost a loved one stands there at the funeral talking in that way about the one he/she has lost. there are for sure other things you got on your mind instead of wanting to talk about not very flattering imperfections. and then it is farts? oh please! this ad does not feel right for me. no authenticity. if you want to talk about love, why not think about respect first. i don t see any in this…

furthermore, the farting bit seems to be inspired by ‘good will hunting’. but there the fart thing was in a different setting, timeframe and context… i don t know why some might say this spot is brave. because that woman talks about old farts during a funeral in a government ad?.. i could go on, because it gets me raging. it really does. i don t know why… but i guess i should go ahead with writing an overdue email…

Comment by peggy

Unfortunately, until the Singapore government wakes up to the fact that fear actually suffocates the society it tries to create nothing will ever change. This twisted, terrible spot is a perverse symptom of the system that created it. Like laboratory rats the team who came up with it have no idea what life is really like outside the laboratory. And like laboratory rats will eat what’s given to them. Even if it turns out to be poison.

Comment by ed

I agree with everything everyone has said. It does seem like a cheap idea to go with the whole “love your family whilst you have the opportunity to”… i mean, no fucking shit!

BUT i did show the girl who sits next to me in the office and she started crying. Andy, you’ll be happy to know I consoled her 😉

Comment by Age

she was crying because you were talking to her age not because of the fucking ad.

was she hot? sorry thats fucking sexist of me isnt it. but seriously, was she hot?

Comment by andy@cynic

ha, you idiot. she’s alright. probably a 2/10 on your scale though.

Comment by Age

I would like to know how the effectiveness of this commercial will be evaluated.

Will they measure how many people talk about their loved ones bad habits at funerals? Maybe they aim to compare the number of eulogies that feature sound effects pre and post campaign? Just what is the purpose of this commercial apart from flushing hundreds of thousands of tax dollars down the drain?

All signs point to this being another government department paying lip service to a social problem because they don’t wish to acknowledge their own role in its deterioration.

Great post Robert and I particularly loved Billy’s response. I never knew he was so insightful.

Comment by Lee Hill

Just curious and picking up on lee’s remark: are their major problems in Singapore relating to the issue of family disintergration?

Comment by Niko

This is terrible. The business card man from yesterday spoke more sense than this ad. Which agency sold their soul and morals for this? I think you have to name and shame Robert.

PS- Love your comment Lee with emphasis on the last sentence. How bad must you be when even (ex) clients take the piss out of Billy. LOL

Comment by Bazza

Well I am glad that it seems the general consensus to this ad has been as I hoped/expected.

I also think Ed’s comment is very pertenant … though to be fair it’s not just the Singaporean Government who use fear to sell ‘love’ – I’ve said for years that’s what Valentine’s Day really has been flogging for years, ha!

In answer to your question Niko – yes it has, but not to the extent of other countries – though as Lee suggested, it has been influenced as much by the policies of the government as it has the evolution of Singaporean society.

What I mean is that by having education policies that celebrate, focus and reward materialism, it is pushing people [and families] to chase the caah rather than simple happiness … hence in many cases, the simple act of ‘family’ is being relegated in importance.

Of course I’m generalising – not everyone is like this, infact maybe the minority – but whilst filial responsibility is alive and well in Asia [as it is in parts of Europe] their is a growing new generation of Singaporean who sees their role in looking after their parents as simply paying for their domestic help rather than having them live with them or spending considerable time with them, which was/is the norm.

Whereas a strong family bond was regarded as a persons ‘fortune’ – the influence of ‘chasing the dollar’ has led to more people seeing family as a ‘cost’ or an ‘investment’.

It’s not just the younger generation who are being changed … we now see a lot of parents send their kids to foreign universities … not because they think they’ll get a better education or get better prospects, but because they think it will reflect better on them as parents.

The bonds of family are definitely there … but its changing … and whilst is might seem bad to the Singaporen Government [who ultimately don’t want people having their own ‘ideas’] the fact is it’s they who should look at the attempted message of this ad rather than the society who – by hook or by crook – are doing a far better job of keeping the bonds alive despite all the external influence and pressure.

Comment by Rob

correct me if i’m wrong, but surely a better way for society to invest in the portrayal of love is to fund and/or support (ie, not censor) the film makers, artists, musicians, etc who really are portraying the love of a family. i can honestly say, that as much as i grimace at the film, that scene in four weddings and a funeral where james hannah gives the eulogy for his partner will convey the depth of love and grief far better than this kind of ad.

not that i found it as offensive as everyone else has – but i do think that the place of a government is not to install ideals/morals/etiquette in its society, but to support those who are – ie the public themselves.

Comment by lauren

well that seemed to stir up the ants nest. Excellent!

Comment by ed

Btw, I guess we could start looking at companies like Unilever, P&G, McDs but that would be only opening up a can of other worms!

Comment by ed

it would it be funny if there was a mag/site/digimag on the market that focused indeed on the parents as stars and put them in the spotlight. this could be a confronting and satirical way of proving that singaporean peeps or parental peeps in general are losing sight of what is important.

Imagine a mag that celebrates parents as being smart for sending kids out of home to boarding school and talking about the pressures of showing up other parents etc..if it sold out then you could start a debate about the wrong values..

kinda like borat/the onion for parents..

be funny to me

Comment by niko

I’m going to come across as a total hypocrite here because actually I think there is a place for Government to – not instill – but promote/celebrate – certain values … however it shouldn’t be done via a bloody ad, it should be in how they allow people to interact, live, speak out, progress which is why I love Barry Schwartz Ted Talk so much, because he knows the importance of human values, not just materialism.

Comment by Rob

I’m with Lauren here in not finding this particularly offensive – the idea of missing someone’s bad points as an indicator of love is pretty powerful, albeit far from original. Yes it’s schmaltzy, yes it goes on and on and yes it’s ultimately unengaging.

But the real issue for me is, as Lee says, not simply when did Billy have insights but also why you would try to promote “family” though this or indeed any advertising medium?

If “Real bravery – at least in adland – should come across as sound logic”, then you can’t promote something as illogical/random as family in this way.

Comment by John

The Jack in the Box ad which I’d never seen before is not brave – it’s just brilliant.

Comment by John

I should point out that I – and I’m assuming everyone else who said a similar thing – don’t find the commercial offensive interms of it being sick, but interms of [1] the Government having to promote family love [2] the Government thinking an ad would promote family love and [3] some people think it is effective and brave.

As for the JITB ad … it’s brilliant but some of the others in the series were even better … but then its creators, Cliff Freeman & Partners, were – to me at least – the most exciting agency in the World at one point [think Mother & Crispin rolled into one] and I am still sad that [1] I didn’t get to work there [3 interviews and then the big fat “no” and [2] they didn’t go on to achieve the acclaim other agencies now enjoy despite not having half the standard of work they produced.

I should do a post on agencies of greatness … show these whippersnappers that before Crispin and WK, there were a whole host of agencies that were doing brilliant work. I find it funny that so many people think “exciting creative” only started in 2002!

Comment by Rob

The Indian woman was married to Chinese man so why aren’t the kids of Chinese and Indian heritage? Political correctness foiled by lack of attention to detail.

Comment by Zahn

Hello Zahn … are you a police officer because your attention to detail is amazing.

I think the best way to answer your comment is to say that you should scroll up till you see a comment by a guy called ‘Billy Whizz’ … I think he has a theory that explains it all perfectly. 🙂

PS: Hope you and Ed come back soon … but something tells me you’ve got more sense than that, ha!

Comment by Rob

And when you do do that post on creative agencies, please be so kind as to include Howard Gossage or I will get on a plane and kill you.

Oh, I’ve just spent a week in Paris with Jo Foster (and Unilever), she says hi.

Comment by simon

And include papert koenig lois

Comment by niko

Luckily for you Simon, I’m half Italian so I react very positively towards threats – in the sense I do what people who threaten me want, ha!

Now a strange thing has been going on recently where I seem to have become the invisible conduit between strangers. I don’t know what’s going on … a while back a friend from Australia met an old colleague of mine.

The issue is that [1] they were SKIING IN SWITZERLAND on separate holidays and [2] didn’t know eachother from Adam.

And just recently another colleague of mine met an old client of mine at pre-natal class. PRE NATAL!

[To top it off, this ex-client is someone who for TWO YEARS thought I didn’t drink because I was a recovering alcoholic and didn’t mention it to me for fear of upsetting me! I always thought I got on with her when in reality, she was just concerned for my bloody health!]

And now Simon – a guy I have never met and only know via his and my blog – talks about discussing me with a lovely and clever thinker/planner type. IN PARIS.

HOW THE HELL WOULD MY NAME COME UP IN CONVERSATION? WHY THE HELL WOULD MY NAME COME UP IN CONVERSATION? I can bet one thing, it would be associated with a disaster rather than something good happening.

Maybe my mate in Switzerland fell and broke her leg and my ex-colleague came over and said, “I have a mate who’d probably be laughing now – the sick fuck” and then Sam [my mate] said, “Do you know Rob Campbell?”

Or Liz’s baby started kicking her in class and causing pain and she muttered “Stop being a little Rob Campbell” to which my ex-client said, “Are you talking about that bastard Rob Campbell who almost got me sacked from Scarlectrix?”

And I can only assume Simon was telling Unilever about my “Has Anyone Ever Seen The Pond’s Institute” campaign for Body Shop [which obviously they have as they tried to sue us for it] only for Jo to go, “Do you know that evil shit Rob Campbell?”

What is going on? Haven’t people got better things to do or worse people to have as a common link? And why does my name never come up with Angelina Jolie ignoring the fact I’ve never met her.

So many questions, so little time …

PS: Howard Gossage is definitely ‘in’.

Comment by Rob

I don’t blame your client for thinking you were a recovering alcoholic. I’ve just read your comment and you sound like someone who has just fallen off the wagon. Are you OK?

Comment by Bazza

I guess my last comment is a good ad for not drinking too much coffee in a day Baz! Going home now – call you in about an hour and I promise not to ask for any [read: not much] free stuff, ha!

Comment by Rob

Good afternoon.

Comment by Marcus

thank fuck you’re here marcus. now read campbells last comment and tell me if you think the fuckers on drugs.

i never thought id say this but i think a spell in mountain view is in order

Comment by andy@cynic

speaking of having too much caffeine…

here’s what it really says: i never thought id say this but i think a spell in mountain view is in order

and what i thought it said: i never thought id say this but i think a spell on the mountain dew is in order.

Comment by lauren

I’ve had a post about this in my drafts folder. Might have to dig it out because the conclusions are different Rob. People are talking about it right?

Comment by Charles

Turns out we were talking about another Rob Campbell.

Comment by Ex client, mate from Oz and super smart planner.

Talking about a different Rob Campbell? The more successful, talented and good looking one in London? That figures …

I look forward to seeing your post Charles … but if the point you have is that this ad is getting people to talk, then prepare for a spirited response because that’s not the issue I’m really talking about and to be honest, that’s the kind of old-school justification used by agencies and creatives to justify most things, but you’re not old school so I will be interested to see where you’re going with it.

Comment by Rob

“There are some great ads that can move people in 30 seconds … ads that change how people fundamentally feel and think”


Comment by Marcus

OK I”m digging it out but in the meantime. This is the podcast that has me up so early. I awoke (yet again) to one of Douglas Rushkoff’s inspired remixes right at the end. Listen to the last 3 minutes or so in the flash player….or is it just me?

Comment by Charles

youre right marcus, they have to be 40 seconds or they leave people feeling like wet fucking blankets

Comment by andy@cynic

What the hell is going on?

Why is everyone up so early/late …

Well I know why Charles is … I know why I am … and I know it’s ‘normal’ time for Andy, but Marcus, Peggy? Is there something going on in Germany we don’t know about?

And I think Andy and Marcus are both wrong, I think 30 seconds can change how someone feels or thinks … that change might only last the length of the commercial, but it can do it and the one I always mention is the South Africa ‘Make A Dream’ spot because if that doesn’t move you/touch you, then you have no heart and given even Andy likes that spot [and he has a very little heart] I assume I am OK to make the statement I made – even though I accept it is absolutely the exception rather than the rule.

Is that the longest sentence in the World? I think it is you know …

Comment by Rob

not sure what s goin on over here. i heard they put something in the water. must be caffeine then : )

Comment by peggy

stop telling me what im supposed to think. who the fuck do you think you are, simon cowell?

Comment by andy@cynic

No need to talk like that to Peggy Andy.

I”ve posted about it Rob but given that 90% of advertising doesn’t even get to the ‘water-cooler’ stage then I think it’s heading in the right direction if it’s being spoken about.

That aside both you and I have more experience of Sinagaporeans than most here so I’ll take you through more of why I think it’s socially constructive as opposed to a waste of money.

Comment by Charles

now that s very sweet of you charles. thank you. i actually think andy was talking to rob. but then i ve had too much coffee… anyway. peace 🙂

Comment by peggy

The traffic is very busy today. 🙂

I haven’t seen your post yet Charles and I agree with you that starting conversations are important (after all that’s what we say cynic does) but unless the issue is something that is not talked about or has a low public interest, then just having a strategic goal of creating conversation seems rather simplistic.

The reason I say this is because you could claim talkability can be achieved by Robert’s infamous ‘naked man having sex with a frozen chicken running down the street’ so where does watercooler value start and where does it end.

Finally, does anyone know if this ad is getting positive public feedback. Maybe I’ve misunderstood but I thought Robert was referring to the Singaporean ad industries comments.

Comment by Pete

I was first alerted to the ad by a Malaysian ad colleague but I think the point is that within the context of an Island state that is losing it’s familial and Asian DNA strands this ad can only be anything but good. It’s humanizing and way more real than any other ads you might want fish out on Youtube.

Here’s your average number (for the people who run the island)

I’m hoping Rob posted the ad because it’s actually propaganda and that is worthy of discussion.

Comment by Charles

Sorry Pete. Bashing stuff out so quickly this morning you might think that wasn’t a reply but it is 🙂

Comment by Charles

Rob is spot on (as always or for once?). The whole GOV campaign for this was S$1M and clearly a BAD way to spend tax payers money. I mean, the GOV spending Singaporeans money to tell them that imperfections matter? The whole message from the commercial was supposed to instill the importance of marriage and get more Singaporeans to the alter. CRAP! Are Singaporeans really that fickle? I’ll let you decide….. 🙂

Comment by perki

Sorry for being out of this – was actually doing some work. I know, amazing eh!

I totally get what Charles is saying – sometimes there are situations/scenarios where the best course of action is to get ‘talkability’ around an issue … however I also agree with Pete that too often this is the justification agencies come up with to do ‘creative’ rather than fundamentally address the problem.

In this case of what the Singaporean Government are trying to do, I don’t think an ad will ever affect change … especially as many of these problems are a byproduct of Government policy for the last 40+ years.

Not only that, but I don’t even know if this ad is getting talked about by Singaporeans and even if it is, I don’t know if the conversations taking place will always be positive because as much as you think I’m a moaning minnie, one of the things Singaporeans are World Class at, is complaining.

The old adage is “there’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about” … well I think there’s a lot of examples where you could argue that fact quite easily and I reckon Gary Glitter would be one of my biggest advocates, ha.

Comment by Rob

I’ll bear that in mind if Glitter asks for an ad but in the mean getting talked about for ads is a good thing *winky*. This is a good conduit for Singaporeans to drop the badges of materialism and have a chat about the things that matter

I think it goes a long way towards that. I’d love to see the marketing brief though. The execution isn’t singular in my book but it is a lot better executed than I’d expect from a government department.

Comment by Charles

Put it this way, if LKY had made a speech saying he felt the values of ‘family’ were being impacted [which knowing how Singapore works, is probably the real driving force behind this campaign] I KNOW it would of got much wider press coverage, opened up real debates within communities and families and cost absolutely sod all.

For me Lee summed it up best …

“All signs point to this being another government department paying lip service to a social problem because they don’t wish to acknowledge their own role in its deterioration.”

Comment by Rob

My head is thick with hey fever this morning but I’ll still try to make some sense.

I’m not bothered by the ad. It’s just an ad. I know nothing about Singapore; nothing of the culture, what it’s like to live there, nor do I have any experience of how things like death, grieving etc etc are handled within the community.

This is apparently a government ad – this much I have understood – and that means that “something needs to be done/changed/etc etc” (normally this means that the government in question wishes to be seen as doing something – changing something).

I don’t really understand what this “something” is. I do find it, however, shocking that instead of actually investing the money in somekind of useful community programme (for example) they’ve made an ad. But doing something – changing something is really hard work and not something that governments are particulary good at.

Ad done. Job done. Pontius Pilate anyone?

Comment by Marcus

but what do I know? I’m shit (literally) apparently.

Comment by Marcus

Who said you were shit?

Have you got shed fever again?

Comment by Rob

Hi, as usual, I am joining the party as the guests are about to leave.
A couple of comments from somebody who does not work in adland. So, as a layman, I watched it and I found it, in typical SG fashion, surgically moving. But, once over, I was wondering ‘whats the fracking point?’ I understand this is the way the government tries to stay relevant and communicate a certain message, but I am wondering ‘If I were Singaporean, what would be my action points upon watching it?’ It seems to work too much at a subliminal level.
It works well in Singapore, because the majority does not like to think, does not want to think. The government has done it for them for the past 30 years, so why change?!
Rob, if your earlier comment on this ad being a ‘warning’ against the disintegration of society, then the government is walking a dangerous path. I hope they are not really claiming that disintegration of society is really another evil aspect of progress, so lets go back to the good old fifties, sixties, seventies (pick your era!).
Actually, some of the pundits’ comments about the light touch of the ad seem too harsh. I agree that if that is the best you can say in a eulogy, then you should have divorced your partner way back. But I can also see it working from the perspective of ‘hey, I want to say something meanignful, but my kids are so distraught that I’d better resort to some humor….’
What actually struck me about the ‘funny’ ad is that, as a generalization (do forgive me!), I find Singaporeans extremely unfunny. I have been to plays and movies here with my wife to invariably notice how the locals often dont laugh at something that is seriously funny or, even weirder, laugh at things that are definitely, absolutely NOT funny.
So, I was surprised when I saw this ad, especially when I compare it against another recent campaign which asked drivers to be more careful (actually I dont bloody know what the point of that campaign was…) with several people of different races and ages pop up and say “Hi, my name is Leon, I am 27, watch out for me,” a commercial which was as engaging as a pre-Capello era England football match.
The ad works well in Singapore, because they are inward-looking and don’t want to look at what lies outside their island. All members of the blog are extremely critical because they are either expats or are locals who enjoyed an eye-opening exposure: in the end nothing really changes.

Comment by Claudio

Is Robert saying this ad wouldn’t work? I think his first lines acknowledge it would for the very reasons you have mentioned Claudio.

Maybe we’re being overly critical on the ad but for a Singaporean to say his fellow countrymen “don’t like to think” is far more disturbing.

Comment by Pete

Even if we don’t know what “work” actually means.

Comment by Pete

so claudio what youre saying is this spot is less fucking shit than the normal pointless shit the fuckers churn out. like when george michael released careless whisper but probably fuck all like that.

im with dodds im bored to the fucking back teeth of singapore

Comment by andy@cynic

Hate generalizations. My point about not liking to think has to do with the fact that many here accept whatever the powers-that-be tell them at face value. Undeniably, it makes life easy and convenient on a level. Not trying to offend anybody.

It is perhaps more ‘entertaining’ than other ads, but still whats its point?! I would like to show this ad to 10 people who have never lived in SG and ask them what they think the message is about. But this is a pointless exercise, as it is only aimed at the domestic market.

Comment by Claudio

what is the ad supposed to do? no fucker knows so it doesnt matter if youre singaporean, american or fucking iraqi it doesnt work even if the cotton wool protected of singapore think its “nice”

Comment by andy@cynic

final fucking point. just because this ad is allegedly liked by every singaporean and is better than the usual government shit doesnt mean a better commercial wouldnt of got the same reaction because this ad has fuck all to do with culture and everything to do with laziness of creatives, people and especially the fucking singaporean government.

enough of this and if campbell writes a post about singapore tomorrow ill fucking kill him but i would bet $10000 i know what the evil fuck has written about and its a fucking travesty. against me. prick

Comment by andy@cynic

oooh a new function on bobbies blog.

Comment by Marcus

I didn’t think it had any function in the first place.

Comment by John

hmm.. not sure if i like it. this blog goes on enough tangents without having conversations/arguments within arguments/conversations..

Comment by lauren

even though i probably should not, i want to add something. i think it is dangerous for any society if a government tells people what they should think. and i m quite sure (even though i am not living in singapore) that there are more than enough people who think that being indoctrinated by the government is not healthy, especially if the indoctrination is focussed on your private/family life. i think something like this shows how respect for people is missing. (am i going straight to court for that when showing up at the airport? you know this is not my real name here haha. and it s just my opinion)… what this ad does is trying to make people found families. if this works then i don t want to see the day when someone else comes along to tell them to think something which is not spinning around the family/love issue. but i don t think the spot works. what could work? reinforcing the importance of family and love? i mean, is there just one human being on this planet that does not want to be loved? and having a family and children is more a matter of conditions and values in a society (which are long term issues)… i also think that free art, movies, literature etc. would probably make people think about the issues anyway (like i think lauren stretched). though, people might end up thinking what they want. and that might not be the aim… “People want to get married, but they want to wait for Ms or Mr Right,” said Tan. “We want people to know that you can build a beautiful relationship — an imperfectly beautiful relationship.”

Comment by peggy

Thanks for commenting Claudio – really appreciate it.

Just a couple of comments – which will repeat what Pete and Andy said, but hopefully with a bit more clarification.

Putting aside the fact I don’t know what this ad is supposed to do [and if it is as I suspect, “promote family bonds and love”, then its ridiculous to think a television commercial can achieve it compared to more ‘practical’ action as I briefly touched on in one of my comments] I didn’t say this ad wouldn’t “work” – I actually said upfront that it would [in Singapore] for many of the reasons you described in your comment.

However as Andy said, this is not an ad based on ‘cultural relevance’, I believe [and know from first hand experience] that the Singaporean people are not stupid or lazy [despite the best attempts of the Government to rid people of the need to ‘think’] so if any commercial had to be created, it could of been one that talked about ‘family’ and ‘love’ in a more meaningful, optimistic [or even challenging] way and still achieve the same [if any] talkability.

As for my comment about societies failings …

Without doubt there are cultural elements evolving in Singaporean society that is going to potentially undermine the countries future prosperity.

This is not the fault of the people [though the younger generation are embracing it with such relish that the Government are starting to see they’ve created a ‘monster’ which could be in part why they created this commercial] but the policies and focus of the Government over the last 15+ years.

I think it is known I am a huge fan of the country and LKY – but its collective strength is turning into collective arrogance and whilst there is nothing wrong with that per se, when you are a nation with no natural resources and reliant on other countries to help you flourish, it is running the risk of alienating the very people it needs to thrive – especially as from an educational point of view – the goal is to create ‘middle to top management’ [preferably in International companies] rather than home-grown, entrepeneurs who can … and want to … operate on an international stage.

And this has nothing to do with ‘elite expats’ … I begrudge that … it has everything to do with how Singapore has been allowed to evolve into a myopic culture.

Comment by Rob

Close Rob, we’d spent a day with Unilever were having dinner and drinks to unwind when she said something along the lines of, you are a miserable cynical bald fat fuck – hey, do you know you have a twin – Rob Campbell.

Something like that.

Hurrah for Howard

Comment by simon

Oh and I forgot to mention, I was going to get divorced, either that or chop my wife up, stuff her in shoe boxes and leave bits of her around town, but then I saw the ad and, well, what can I say, I’m so in love her. Thanks Singapore Government.

Comment by simon

i like you simon. i like you more than my business parasites thats for fucking sure. and the obama administration.

Comment by andy@cynic

Buongiorno fellow idlers.

The third line in your last comment is begging to be addressed Rob. The one about what it’s trying to say. So here goes.

I believe the ad is attempting to humanize Singaporeans into being less selfish and thinking about others as a good thing for all involved.

One of the casualties of accelerated culture often seen in Singapore, is a propensity towards neurosis in relation to our natural state of affairs such as say menstrual blood, urine, vomit, sputum and and the rest of the ‘do you mind’ gang.

Newly industrialized or arrivist-globalized is paranoid about germs and bacteria to the point where hyper-sanitation is ubiquitous both psychologically and physically. The Japanese are the benchmark pros in this respect I think. Germ free everything and no resistance to it either.

Anyway while that isn’t what I’d conclude as the point of the ad. It does have a herd like feel in the best sense of the word. I see threads of interdependence and common human frailty in the script.

Which is good because we are after all, not only all in it together but equally subject to an unpredictable snipers bullet of mortality at some point. A thought worthy of a gasp or two at some point because in praise of the flip side of dying, because while here, we all get to smoke the pipe of peace, metaphorically, in a wonderful gig called life.

I digress. Getting back to your line Rob the ad I feel works to bring Singaporeans closer together, partly through recognition of our collective vulnerabilities.

I don’t have proof so yes I’m busking it till then, but I don’t think I’m way off either.

It’s got a heart Rob, and that is not what I’d expect emerging from any career civil service involvement in Singapore. They are the Knights of misguided creative shockers, as you’ve often blogged about. It also looks like it has dodged being tested to destruction as well.

Is this a tgood ime to point out that link testing is Millwards Brown’s mechanism to claim they work in the creative industries, and so they peddle it in order to meddle with it.

Comment by Charles

We can go backwards and forwards on this Charles … I know what you’re saying but I still think we’re giving Singaporean’s far too little credit in their ability to understand and be engaged by more intelligent communication.

However, putting all that aside, my biggest issue is the fact that a Government department relied on a TV commercial to do their work when they could evolve/create policies that encourage this view to occur/be debated more ‘naturally’ and more uniformally.

As I said in a previous comment, if LKY made a passing comment on this issue, it would have more relevance, coverage impact and commentary than this ad could hope to achieve in a 1000 years.

And please don’t use language like ‘link testing’ on this blog please. There’s no call to be personal 😉

Comment by Rob

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