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High Five

High Five: Singapore

Benson Toh, ECD at Tribal Worldwide Singapore, shares five projects from the country that bring a certain ‘Singaporean-ness’ to adland

High Five: Singapore

I’m a Singaporean creative with over 20 years of experience in the local ad industry. I specialise in blue-chip accounts and national campaigns across a wide range of topics, from digital inclusion and racial cohesion to health and financial awareness for the Singaporean government. The ads in Singapore have a unique blend of local and international touches to it. While we are yet to develop a distinct style, like Thailand or Japan, we certainly add a touch of ‘Singaporean-ness’ to our work, from our upbringing to how we speak. The five pieces of work I have chosen this week celebrate this ‘Singaporean-ness’ - ads to which both local and international audiences can relate.


Sentosa - 'The SeaQuel'

Agency: BBH Singapore
Production: Abundant Productions
Music: Fuse Adventures in Audio

A follow-up to last year's ad inspiring Singaporeans to go on holiday, this year’s Broadway-style musical draws you in with a catchy song and adorable stars. Set against the backdrop of sunny Singapore, the ad certainly makes you want to drop everything and pack your bags for a quick break.


Ministry of Manpower - 'Working Together for Progress'

Agency: DDB Group
Production: Freeflow Productions

This is one of my favourite government commercials for 2021. The ad is narrated by a young boy and draws parallels between a children’s story and the protagonist’s career path. The casting is spot on, the music complements the storytelling, and the boy’s narration is coached to perfection. The government schemes are subtly weaved into the story without coming on too strong. As a viewer, I can feel the proud mom’s emotions at the end.


NCS Group - 'Future'

Agency: Gyro, part of Dentsu
Production: Electric Lime Films

A rebranding exercise for NCS Group, previously known as National Computer Systems, wanted to unveil their new purpose on how they make the extraordinary happen. The spot led by a local female VO narrates the story in an evocative way, bringing you thru the various technologies and strategies NCS employs. I like how the director uses close-up shots and grading to make Singapore look like a modern and tech advanced city.


NTUC Income - 'Me First'

Agency: BBH Singapore
Production: Freeflow Productions
Music: Fuse Adventures in Audio

A tense moment at a lawyer’s office turns into an unexpectedly heart-warming story when two siblings come to understand each other better. The music, casting and story are very relatable. My son connected with the ad when the nephew got his ang pow money confiscated during Chinese New Year. While this is not the usual tearjerkers NTUC Income has become known for, it is very close.


Ministry of Communications and Information - 'Vaccinate Already?'

Agency: Tribal Worldwide Singapore
Production: Chuan Pictures
Post: Gravitate

What better way to battle misconceptions about the Covid-19 vaccine and encourage seniors to get vaccinated than a Getai-inspired performance by veteran personalities? The song is infectious (pun unintended), and the performance is guaranteed to get people dancing. Excuse me while I listen to it for the 107th time…

Featured Companies: High Five , BBH Singapore

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