SINGAPORE – A new film about the Singapore Bicentennial encourages citizens of the Lion City to think back on not just 200, but 700 years of history. The one-minute film is the latest part of an ongoing integrated communications campaign led by J. Walter Thompson Singapore, that got off to a newsworthy start with the ‘disappearance’ of Sir Stamford Raffles’ statue earlier this year.

“What if we were to look at our history from a new perspective?” says the opening voice-over. “Go back to when it started. Not just 1819, but way back to 1299.” The film goes on to ask, “Why do we only know Raffles? How about the others?”

Thematically, this echoes a headline-making activation at the turn of the new year, when the iconic statue of Sir Stamford Raffles, at the site of his 1819 landing, seemed to ‘disappear’ against the CBD (Central Business District) backdrop.

Upon Raffles’ reappearance, it was joined by statues of four other important historical figures, Sang Nila Utama, Naraina Pillai, Munshi Abdullah and Tan Tock Seng, who contributed to the evolution of Singapore in its longer history.

Speaking about the campaign, Executive Director of the Singapore Bicentennial Office, Gene Tan said: “The launch film for the Singapore Bicentennial is an excellent outcome of our collaboration with J. Walter Thompson. It delivers the Singapore Bicentennial narrative succinctly, and more importantly, presented history in a refreshing and interesting way, which will hopefully invoke thought and curiosity about the longer history of Singapore. This follows the successful start to the year when we did a trick-eye effect on the statue of Raffles, followed by the appearance of four new statues. That campaign sparked conversations and paved the way for us to engage a growing audience.”

The film concludes with, “So what do 200, no 700 years of history, say about us and what we can become?” followed by the overall tagline: “From Singapore to Singaporean.”

J. Walter Thompson (Singapore) Pte Ltd was appointed to lead the Ministry of Communications and Information’s (MCI) Singapore Bicentennial integrated campaign back in June 2018. J. Walter Thompson Singapore handles much of the communications brief, with a consortium of the best WPP and external agencies also delivering across multiple touch points.

Issued in January 2018, MCI’s Request for Proposal (RFP) sought to appoint an agency “to conceptualise, develop and implement an integrated marketing communications and engagement campaign to encourage Singaporeans to reflect on our history and the values that have evolved with us, and participate in the Singapore Bicentennial.”