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Sentosa marketers: We did not copy the ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ campaign

State of funThe marketers behind a new tourism campaign to promote the Singaporean resort island of Sentosa have rubbished suggestions that their campaign is suspiciously similar to the award-winning ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ advertising.

It's more fun in the PhilippinesThe campaign, from the Sentosa Development Corporation, uses the word ‘fun’ in its new ‘State of fun’ slogan, which has replaced the line ‘Asia’s Favourite Playground’. It also uses the same font as the campaign from the Philippines’ Department of Tourism.

An SDC spokesman told Mumbrella that the ‘State of fun’ campaign has “not been inspired by any other campaign”.

‘State of fun’, which officially launched over the weekend, involved a series of events and an online competition. It launches just two years after the Philippines introduced the ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ platform, created by BBDO Guerrero, which has been recognised at every major awards show in Asia, including the Warc prize for Asian strategy.

The SDC spokesman said ‘The state of fun’ has been “introduced based on Sentosa’s own research on how best to build on our brand equity by strengthening our emotional connection with our guests.”

The campaign was devised separately from the ‘YourSingapore’ country brand initiative, which falls under the remit of the Singapore Tourism Board.

“In developing the campaign, a brand audit was conducted last year to gain insight to the perceptions of Sentosa as a leisure destination. The results had shown that the predominant attribute associated with Sentosa was ‘fun’ and it became the key thrust of the new brand campaign,” the spokesman said.

“Hence, we decided to build on the ‘fun’ element and adopt the tagline which refers to both a physical state and a state of mind where leisure and fun are the norms.”

The font used in the brand campaign – Harabara – is “an open font for commercial use”, they pointed out.

BBDO Guerrero has not commented on the matter.

The mantra behind the campaign, documented on the campaign website, has come in for criticism from other quarters.

The copy reads: “This is the Neverland. The Dreamland. The Wonderland. The land without rules, without strangers, without stereotypes. Here the borders are open to everyone but shut to boredom. Fun is the most fundamental right of all in this land. And Freedom to be yourself is upheld by all its citizens. Its air is thick with music, skipped heart beats and sonnets composed by nature. And the ground always shakes under the happy feet.”

Blogger Chris Reed wrote in an opinion piece for Campaign that the proposition was ironic given Singapore’s low tolerance for unruly behaviour.

“This is Singapore, famous for having more rules, regulations, fines, canings and prison sentences for exactly the kind of fun that you can have without rules. It sounds like someone was on something that could get them the death penalty in Singapore when they wrote this,” he wrote.

The ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’ campaign initially raised eyebrows too when it launched in 2012, due to the echoes of the ‘It’s more fun in Switzerland’ slogan already in use. But the creators, BBDO Guerrero, denied having any knowledge of the Swiss campaign during the creation process.

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