Monday, April 13, 2009

Creative turn for local industry?

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has launched its 2009 campaign ‘Funeral’, an uncomfortable topic as many would find it. The TVC moves the audience with beautifully crafted script and music and leaves their eyes glassy.

The previous one ‘Family’, too, showed a night worker, living in a rented HDB flat, financially constrained finding it hard to make ends meet. Not something you would expect coming out of the government, which is known to be particularly particular about how Singapore is portrayed in TVCs.

Needless to say, both campaigns have received acceptance and appreciation from Singaporeans. Both have been directed by Yasmin Ahmad, who is well-known for her creativity and directorial brilliance in Malaysia as well as Singapore.

Does this then reflect a change in the government’s mindset, a move towards embracing the not-so-rosy reality and finally putting the message in the campaign ahead of superfluous details like what the protagonist is wearing or where is it shown to be living?

Singapore’s creativity standards has long been under question when compared to neighbours like Malaysia and Thailand and this need not necessarily translate into any sort of finger-raising on the creative agencies but certain tacit parameters that have to be followed.

Industry insiders too have agreed that advertising in Singapore misses the local flavour and culture. Well then, if everything is global in this country, do these campaigns make a mark in their own little way? Does the industry think that it could well be the beginning of a new trend that gives Singapore a significantly higher creative standing?

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