MarketingAn Ultraman series, Pokémon event and Attack on Titan exhibition are some of Singapore’s more novel destination marketing efforts.

Singapore recruits anime characters with eye-popping effects

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Singapore is leveraging the popularity of Japanese anime to attract tourists.
Singapore is leveraging the popularity of Japanese anime to attract tourists. Photo Credit: Tsuburaya Productions/Visit Singapore

With Singapore gearing up for the full recovery of its tourism industry, the country is pulling out all the stops in beckoning international tourists to visit its shores. One of the country’s more unique marketing methods at re-engaging travel is its adoption of anime tourism.

Speaking at STB’s Year in Review 2021 press conference held on 25 January 2022, Terrence Voon, director of communications and marketing at Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said: “The growth that we are seeing and the fact that we are well positioned to recapture demand really is credit to the work of our regional offices, they have been doing to inspire travel to Singapore and to keep our audiences warm.”

Ultraman saves Singapore from giant monsters

The Ultraman video series aims to drive anticipation for travel into Singapore.
The Ultraman video series aims to drive anticipation for travel into Singapore. Photo Credit: Tsuburaya Productions/Visit Singapore

Voon referenced STB’s marketing campaign launched in December 2021 that leveraged the popularity of Japanese anime, Ultraman, to generate interest in Singapore, while simultaneously celebrating 55 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The three-part video series was directed by Kiyotaka Taguchi, the original director of Ultraman Z (2020) and Ultraman Orb (2016) and produced by Japanese special effects studio Tsuburaya Productions.

The videos feature Ultraman battling giant monsters as they ravage popular tourist landmarks around the city, such as Gardens by the Bay, Jewel Changi Airport, Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, and Merlion Park. The final video of the series culminates in an epic battle where a character modelled after the Merlion emerges to assist Ultraman in saving Singapore.

The campaign’s aim of conveying the charm of Singapore from a different perspective certain seemed to hit a mark. Voon reported that the series racked up close to one million views within three weeks of its launch.

Even Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong joined in the fun by sharing the video on his Facebook page and following up with a tongue in cheek comment: “Relieved to know that one of my regular jalan jalan [walking] spots is safe under the protection of Ultraman!”

Join the Eevee-lution in Sentosa

Visitors have to register for an electronic ticket to catch the Eevee parades.
Visitors have to register for an electronic ticket to catch the Eevee parades. Photo Credit: Sentosa Development Corporation/Pokémon

In its ongoing anime tourism initiatives, STB also partnered The Pokémon Company to debut the Eevee Dance Parade in Sentosa in December 2021.

The event has since expanded to include Eevee dressed in various ponchos representing each of its eight Eevee-lutions and the Eevee Adventure where fans can participate in a virtual game that offers them the chance to win Eevee prizes.

This isn’t the first time that Singapore has harnessed the brand power of Pokémon for its tourism campaigns. In 2020, the Pokémon Go mobile game added 300 new locations where players can capture Pokémon or engage in virtual raids.

The virtual locations were situated at hotels, F&B establishments, attractions, retailers and tour ticketing booths across Singapore. When players arrive at these locations, they would see an in-app banner for the SingapoRediscovers campaign that they can click on to discover the SingapoRediscovers promotions available at these establishments.

Enter a world where humanity faces extinction

The Southeast Asia premiere of Attack On Titan: The Exhibition will feature over 180 artworks by the manga’s creator.
The Southeast Asia premiere of Attack On Titan: The Exhibition will feature over 180 artworks by the manga’s creator. Photo Credit: ArtScience Museum

Much excitement was generated among the manga and anime world after news broke that Singapore’s ArtScience Museum will be hosting an exhibition, from 19 February to 3 July, showcasing the origins of cult-favourite Japanese manga and anime series, Attack on Titan — a series that takes place in a dystopian world where the last humans fight for their survival against mindless man-eating giants.

The exhibition promises to offer visitors an immersive look into the characters, themes and intricate world building of this global phenomenon created by Hajime Isayama. This will be the series’ first presentation of its kind in Southeast Asia, and will showcase new artworks that have not been displayed anywhere else in the world.

On the topic of securing partnerships with the various anime production companies to bring popular anime touristic offerings into Singapore, Chang Chee Pey, assistant chief executive of STB’s marketing group credits Singapore’s “international office network as well as our headquarters” who have toiled for “months and even years” to establish collaboration.

“We’ll continue to seek out the partners we want to work with and work towards engaging them to establish common grounds for these initiatives and marketing campaigns,” Chang concluded.

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