‘Make Time’ campaign for Sentosa encourages deskbound Singaporeans to take a break

Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) has launched a campaign called ‘Make Time’ aimed at the residents of Singapore, encouraging them to take a break from the daily grind. Created by BBH Singapore, the launch film is built around a quite literal interpretation of the desk-bound lives that many Singaporeans lead.

Speaking at an event to launch ‘Make Time’, SDC chief marketing officer Lynette Ang said: “This is not just a marketing campaign but an issue close to all of our hearts: the issue of time.”

She added that conversations in Singapore had always centred around productivity. But another conversation was equally necessary – a number of news stories about the rising levels of stress in Singapore and how its residents were working the longest hours in the world.

She said: “When we looked at what Sentosa can do to help, we first wanted to understand people’s attitudes towards leisure.”And so the SDC commissioned a study which was conducted by Asia Insights. A release from SDC quoting the research said: “Some 57% of Singapore residents want to take a break from their daily routines, but when they eventually do, they feel the time spent on such breaks could have been used for something more productive.”

The research which surveyed 600 Singaporeans also revealed that 52% felt that they were stuck in a daily routine. And yet, 48% confessed to being stressed at the thought of doing nothing.

While 74% wished they could spend more time with their families, they spent only 2.8 hours of the week or a little more than 1% of the time available with family and friends. Strangely enough, they spent 16 hours on social media and messaging.

Speaking about how the campaign evolved, Ang said: “From the research, it is clear that Singaporeans yearn to break free from their stressful routines and spend quality time with their loved ones.

“Yet, it is important to note that such breaks need not require long hiatuses from our jobs. Sentosa is the perfect place for Singaporeans to visit to hit the pause button.”

Speaking about the campaign to Mumbrella, BBH Singapore’s head of planning Thomas Wagner said: “One of the responses we got during our research was that ‘the people are wired and tired.’ That set up a clear role for Sentosa for play – the ultimate place for a break. Where you can have a staycation, go on a date, do bungee jumping or do absolutely nothing.”

The campaign may have turned out quite differently according to the team at BBH. Creative director Janson Choo said: “Our first thought was to make what we showed during the pitch. But then we were scared it may look like what had been done before. We didn’t want to create a catalogue of all the fun things you can do at Sentosa, with an inspiring voiceover.”

“We came up with a couple of executions – a professor racing down a zipline or bungee jumping, while delivering lines on why taking a break is good. We encountered issues. For instance, if they would be able to say those things while going down a zipline.

“And then we came with this metaphor of people carrying the burden of their work wherever they go.”

BBH Singapore’s senior copywriter Adeline Siow said: “We came up with the visual of a desk since people are always working or thinking about work wherever they go. “We were thinking of conveying that in an interesting way.

“So we thought, what if there was a world where everyone carried their desks with them? It’s like a burden  – which is what work is outside of the appropriate hours.” This led to brainstorms about what the desks of a family or a stay-at-home mother would look like, with input from the agency and the team at SDC. 

Siow added: “There was a debate on whether the children should have a table. But then we realised that in Singapore, kids are really stressed out – the burden of having to be productive all the time starts at a young age.”

Ang believed that while conceived for locals, the campaign applied to many societies in the world. She said: “It is very relevant for our Chinese and Indian tourists. It is a consequence of society progressing. People share the belief that playtime is important for adults but their actions don’t say that.

“How do we challenge them to sit up and think about what they are spending time on? 

“People tend to delay this saying they will relax after they get the dream house or car. But we shouldn’t delay this because you never know how much time you have. We want to challenge people to make time now. It’s time to pause and ask ourselves, what will we make time for?” 

The campaign will also include outdoor posters encouraging people to make time for life after work, grades etc. Some of the images for the campaign have been picked from Sentosa’s Instagram account to make the campaign look more realistic according to BBH. SDC has also launched a 30 metre long swing at Palawan Beach, the first of many such on-ground initiatives under ‘Make Time’, which will be rolled through the year.



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