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SPH partners with skyline artist to tout multi-media advertising capabilities

Singapore Press Holdings and Stephen Wiltshire generated 80 million media impressions cross-platform.
Singapore Press Holdings and Stephen Wiltshire generated 80 million media impressions cross-platform.

Despite continued efforts to evolve into a multi-language, multi-platform media conglomerate, Singapore Press Holdings faces two key challenges: 

  1. Its brand name and the long legacy of its print businesses made it difficult to change market perception of SPH as a predominantly print organisation. 
  2. Connecting with younger, digitally connected consumers as they turn to online media for alternative news and analyses. 

To change that perception, it was important not to tell our story, but to show it. For our 30th anniversary, we created an event and publicised it using only SPH media platforms. The turnout to our “See the Big Picture” event would show the efficacy of the power of our media platforms and a case film would be produced to showcase to potential advertisers.

The event featured Stephen Wiltshire, an autistic savant and a world-renowned architectural artist, drawing the Singapore skyline from memory in full view of a live audience over five days on a 4 metre X 1 metre canvas. The unique skyline is relatable to all Singaporeans, and to be able to witness it being immortalised by a world-renowned artist upfront was simply awe-inspiring.

The event was held at Paragon, SPH’s upscale retail mall along Orchard Road, and was publicised entirely using SPH-owned media platforms – print, outdoor, radio, online, and mobile. SPHRazor, SPH’s Internet TV, captured his full journey in Singapore. 

The event created many world’s firsts for Stephen. It was the first time he invited a head of state (President Tony Tan) to draw a few strokes on his panorama. It was also the first time that any brand sold his life story along with an exhibition of his past work.

More than 150,000 people witnessed the event over five days. It was an unprecedented turnout. President Tony Tan Keng Yam, ambassadors, ministers, and CEOs of various government bodies and corporations were among those attending.

With only S$1.8 million worth of media dollars, the campaign generated more than 80 million media impressions across all platforms. This would mean every Singaporean would have read about it 14.5 times.

For all five days, Paragon was packed and all the retail outlets reaped the halo effect of the foot traffic. Beyond the results, the campaign also benchmarked SPH as an inclusive and responsible corporation, touching countless lives with Stephen Wiltshire’s interaction with students from Pathlight (first autism-focused school). Families with autistic children (or children with disabilities) were grateful to SPH for sponsoring such an inspirational event that brought hope and courage. 

Reprints of the artwork autographed by President Tony Tan Keng Yam raised S$220,000 for the President’s Challenge. SPH also gave exclusive rights to Pathlight School to produce reprints and merchandise to raise funds for Autism Resource Centre. The merchandise was sold at all Tangs outlets and the Pathlight School’s eMall.

Finally, as a follow up on this historical event, the 4-metre-long Singapore skyline panorama was presented by SPH to President Tony Tan later as a gift to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday in 2015.

In addition to being inspirational, relatable, and emotional, this campaign also reconnected with Singaporeans and showcased to advertisers’ SPH’s integrated media offerings’ ability to help consumers “See the Big Picture.”

About James Chua

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