TikTok: How TikTok’s Love Letter to Singapore Won by Focusing on What the Nation Is Not


Campaign Summary

To celebrate Singapore's National Day and deepen its relationship with Singaporeans, TikTok created a short film that highlighted all of the things Singapore is not. Though an odd strategy at first blush, the idea actually played into common tropes within Singaporean culture and riffed on a persistent need to constantly explain the nation and the culture to outsiders.



TikTok has spent years telling its advertising partners, "Don't make ads. Make TikToks." When you encourage others on your platform to not be boring, it's imperative you also walk the walk.

So, last year for Singapore's National Day, TikTok asked what would be the most TikTok way to pay tribute to the nation. It had to be entertaining. It had to be un-advertising. And it had to show how the brand not only understood but was a part of Singapore's culture. But rather than highlight all the wonderful things Singapore is, TikTok decided to highlight what Singapore is not, doing so in unmistakable TikTok fashion and hoping to show how the platform played a key role in Singapore culture.

Target Audience:

The target audience for this campaign was millennials between the ages of 26 and 45.

Creative Strategy:

TikTok's inspiration began as a piece of news that originated on social media. Marina Bay Sands, a Singapore landmark, was incorrectly labeled by a foreign user to be in "beautiful Tennessee." Overnight, memes flooded Singapore channels, either humorously claiming other country's icons as its own or giving Singapore icons more "international acclaim" — acts of patriotism in the age of social.

There was also a deeper cultural insight uncovered through this episode: Dealing with misperceptions of the nation was part and parcel of being a Singaporean. All Singaporeans have had to deal with questions like:

  • Why are you able to speak such good English?
  • Which part of (Insert larger country) is Singapore in?
  • Are you guys all Crazy Rich Asians?

These questions show how, in order to explain what Singapore is, you often must clarify what the nation is not.

With these insights, TikTok created a 97-second film that featured scenarios Singaporeans not only recognized but have dealt with regularly. These insights we weaved together with a catchy beat, in a video that leveraged user-generated content and featured original footage of local creators, which highlighted the strength and diversity of the Singaporean community. The result was TikTok's love letter to Singapore.

In addition to the film, TikTok also launched a new filter effect and a quiz on Singapore for users to engage with on the platform.


This was the first brand campaign TikTok ever launched in Singapore.


Overall Campaign Execution:

The film went live on YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok on August 4, 2022. Paid media support ended on Singapore National Day five days later. Even in this short activation period, the film received over 6.8 million views. Given that this campaign was targeted only to Singaporeans, that figure far exceeded the Singapore population, which is 5.9 million.

The film has also received close to 20,000 likes, 9,000 shares, and 793,000 social engagements. The campaign received overwhelmingly positive sentiments (above 90 percent). Brand perception metrics have also spiked positively.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

With the release of its short film, TikTok saw a 2.5 percent increase in daily active users during the film's run. This figure peaked on National Day, reaching 1.52 million users.

TikTok also saw a significant spike of 4.29 percent in 30-day recalled users, which indicated that the campaign might have had a positive effect on re-engaging silent users to return to the platform.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Creator/Influencer Marketing, Cross Platform — Digital Only | Awards: X Global Finalist, X Global Silver Winner