‘So bad it’ll go viral’: Singapore pulls tourism ad

Singapore's tourism board removed a YouTube ad, after commenters ridiculed it

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Singapore's tourism board has been forced to remove a YouTube video designed to promote the city-state to the Philippine market, after it was derided as “so bad it will go viral”.

The three-minute clip depicts a young Filipino couple displaying astonishment as they visit various Singapore sights, including the iconic Marina Bay Sands casino and the Gardens by the Bay.

At the end, the woman presents the man with a gift box - which turns out to contain a positive pregnancy test. “I knew Singapore always had a surprise waiting for me!” her husband exclaims.

“Happy anniversary, honey,” she replies, as cheesy music plays in the background.

The video was withdrawn from YouTube on Monday after it drew a wave of derision in Singapore, but duplicates have been widely re-posted on social media.

“This has to be a spoof. Nothing can be THIS bad,” wrote YouTube user Ferexx under one version of the promo.

Singapore social news and lifestyle website Mothership.sg pronounced it “so bad it will go viral”, describing it as “cringe-worthy”.

“The acting. The music. The surprise twist,” wrote another commenter calling themselves “Sing a Poor” below another version. “The worst tourism ad ever made in the history of advertising. Well done guys, you did Singapore proud.”

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said the video was produced for the Philippine market by Manila's ABS-CBN network “in an effort to customise content for this audience”.

The tourism board said it posted the video on its YouTube channel after its television run in the Philippines ended.

“We subsequently removed it as it was not resonating well with audiences,” STB said.

“We thank readers for their feedback on the video and acknowledge that some aspects of it could have been done better.”

Singapore, a major Asian financial and transport hub, welcomed a record 15.5 million visitors last year, up 7.2 percent from 2012.

The Philippines is among the top 15 markets for the city-state's tourism industry, with 506,000 visitors from January to September 2013, up four percent from the same period a year ago, according to latest available data.

Lacking the white-sand beaches and other natural wonders of its bigger neighbors, Singapore offers a wide array of man-made attractions, including two casino resorts and Southeast Asia's first Universal Studios theme park.

Visitors are also drawn to Singapore's shopping centers and local food, in addition to its low crime rate and reputation for cleanliness.

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