Chris Reed
Aug 6, 2014

Brands celebrate Singapore’s 49th birthday

I love Singapore’s National Day to celebrate the Republic’s independence. It’s an amazing day where everyone on the island (who hasn’t left to avoid it) celebrates Singapore’s birthday. This year many more brands than usual have created special National Day marketing campaigns. I think this is a dry run for them for the big one next year. 50.

Brands celebrate Singapore’s 49th birthday

Singapore is 49 this year and every birthday they hold the famous National Day Parade (NDP) which is the centerpiece of celebrations.

It is something that looks more in keeping with the old Communist/Socialist regimes of North Korea, Russia and China. Most of the parade is dedicated to an old fashion show of armed strength.

We are the 2nd most armed country in the world per capita (no guessing who No.1  is but they like blowing up schools, hospitals and UN buildings) and they like to show off their arms at this annual event.

The air force flys-by with giant Singapore flags, the army parade buy in thousands and the navy pretend to rescue someone from Marina Bay. Then the fun begins and the latest interpretation of cool dancing, NDP song (imagine Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston combined to make the most dreary song you have ever heard) and performance takes over.

You have to be truly Singaporean to appreciate it. They do too, you can’t buy a ticket. There are 6rehearsals performances every Saturday leading up to the big event. That attract a sold out crowd of 30,000 each week. It’s not just to get their free goody bag too although that is a very important part of the festival. They even practice the fireworks for weeks before hand every Saturday night.

This year brands have really started marketing the event hard as part of their campaigns. Next year will be huge being the 50th anniversary of independence and will be a year-long celebration. This year there have been some very creative angles and some really terrible ones.

M&M’s started early. I saw bus-sides with this creative on in April. They have created a cool promotional campaign around finding the red M&M’s and winning lots of red goodies to wear on the big day. The national colours of red and white are themes through every brand’s campaigns.

I had to laugh when I saw an advert for Tupperware Brands who are apparently a “major partner of National Day Parade 2014”.

They highlighted this in massive red and white adverts proclaiming “hot deals on all things red and white”. I think you’re really stretching the association there and some of the items on the advert aren’t even red and white.

Tiger Beer have come up with a simple but effective red and white can with a slogan of “Unleash Your Pride”.

This is a much better use of words in the right context than their most recent bland brand campaign. The creative looks partly like a Superman costume bursting from a suit but it has a great impact because of the dramatic colour change from blue and gold to red and white design of the cans.

KFC seemed to have gone completely overboard on marketing the anniversary. While the official NDP slogan is “Our People. Our Home” (every year they get worse, there must be only so many ways you can say the same thing),  KFC have come up with their own slogan of “One Nation. One Love” with the second strapline of “Find Love at KFC”.

I’m not sure anyone “finds love” at KFC but it fits. Luckily KFC are already red and white so theydidn’t need to change their brand colours. They can though find many NDP specials in store for you to enjoy while you watch the NDP 6 hour marathon.

Many other retailers have just been lazy and said 49% off but clothes retailer Bossini have been out of the box and created a crowd sourcing t-shirt design competition. They are selling the best 10 designs which is a great idea.

Their strapline is “Singapore Be Happy”. Was this in response to the recent survey that said that despite (or maybe because) Singapore has one of the highest per capita GDP’s in the world Singaporeans said that they were generally “unhappy” people?

Hopefully everyone will have a very happy NDP. Happy 49th birthday Singapore.




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