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Behind Singapore's Twitch taxi livestreams that aim to inspire future travel

‘Singapore by Stream’ campaign

With the pandemic scare continuing in many countries and the borders still being closed, tourism has been impacted severely last year. While countries are grappling with it, Singapore Tourism Board has launched a unique initiative ‘Singapore by Stream’ to remind people about the magic of the destination, in collaboration with TBWA\Chiat\Day NY.

The tourism body has thrown open its doors for Americans to explore the magic of Singapore, albeit virtually, via live stream taxi tours on the leading live-streaming platform, Twitch.

In an exclusive chat with The Drum, Rachel Loh, Singapore Tourism Board spokesperson and senior vice president (Americas) says: “Singapore’s brand story is kept ongoing by finding creative solutions and possibilities for any challenges. Embodying ‘Passion Made Possible’, this campaign reinforces that even with restricted travel, we can take tourists on an interactive experience until they can travel here safely.”

The agency was briefed with the task of making Singapore top-of-mind as a destination, when travel safely resumed, shares Loh. In a world where travel had completely changed, the solution had to be digital.

The creative solution beyond the TVC

STB is giving travel-lovers a new way to see the sights of Singapore: via Twitch. By taking tourists on live, interactive tours, Singapore can become a top-of-mind destination when travel resumes, shares Jexy Holman, creative director, TBWA\Chiat\Day NY. Not to mention the centre of the idea, the taxi driver! Hosting the tours through a taxi driver breaks away from the shiny, polished tourism board approach and offers viewers an authentic experience, provided by a local. And giving viewers control over where the taxi goes, what locations it stops off at, and the different parts of Singapore that it explores, offers a whole new way of seeing a foreign destination, adds Holman.

Singapore Tourism Board is possibly one of the first destination brands to leverage the live-streaming platform Twitch to create a virtual experience to reach travellers at home. Equally unique is the fact that taxi drives are being put out as the lead of the campaign. Elaborating on the unique initiative, Loh says, “Often the first locals that travellers encounter when they step out of the airport, Singapore’s beloved taxi ‘uncles and aunties’ have long served as unofficial guides and ambassadors to Singapore, embodying Singapore’s strong sense of national pride and often enthusiastically sharing their recommendations, travel tips, and insider knowledge during their rides.”

Going virtual and experiential

  • The streamer will get to truly experience the landmarks and hidden gems of Singapore, under the guidance of a trained taxi driver who will provide an insider’s guide to Singapore, showcasing the best of Singapore.

  • The campaign would include four two-hour-long live streams, a launch film, social media assets for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, influencer collaborations, a bespoke visual identity with a hand-made typeface, and a fully designed Twitch profile, including static and animated in-stream graphics, shares Holman.

  • Singapore Tourism Board has been busy creating virtual experiences, streaming and broadcast opportunities, and innovative partnerships to allow travelers to experience the offerings from afar, and hopefully encouraging them to dream up a future trip, says Loh. Some of the recent digital activations include Zoom virtual meet-and-greets with host Phil Rosenthal and guest stars about the Singapore episode of ‘Somebody Feed Phil’, multiple virtual and hybrid food and art festivals and even business events, along with partnering with strategic brands such as Airbnb Experiences to unveil its first-of-its-kind Singapore virtual trips.

‘Uncle’ and ‘aunty’ at the center of campaign

The creative team at the agency includes a Singaporean, and two creative directors who spent five years living in Singapore, shares Holman. They recalled many memories of taxi ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ being one of the highlights of their time spent in Singapore. In a brainstorm, one mentioned, “Nobody knows Singapore better than the taxi drivers”. That insight made the Singaporean taxi experience the centre of this campaign.