According to a local paper Baldwin Boyle Shand was appointed in Dec 2010 for "a global campaign aimed at reforming Singapore's plain vanilla image as it loosens up some of it's laws" by the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) for an expenditure of $280,000.
The Holmes Report reveals that the official tender documents indicate the assignment is worth as much as S$1.5 million. Does MICA's RADM (NS) Lui Tuck Yew intend to post an "Other Costs" item to account for the excess charge, in the fashion pioneered by Vivian Balakrishan for his YOG budget? The tender, titled ‘Strategic Plan for Marketing Singapore’, points out that Singapore has undergone numerous changes in recent years and has “transformed into a vibrant global city”. However, while numerous branding initiatives have been deployed at a local and international level, “the perception of what we have to offer still does not match reality.”
Thanks to the internet, the world knows exactly what is the reality in Singapore. Between Alan Shadrake's "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock" and Han Fook Kwang's "Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going", isn' t there enough publicity going around? Perhaps MICA had in mind, "virtual reality".
With the ‘Uniquely Singapore’ campaign running since 2004, associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon of NUS Business School shares the feelings of those who think that another marketing blitz is just a duplication of efforts, overlapping the promotion initiatives of Singapore Tourist Board and Economic Development Board. BrandAsian chief executive Joseph Baladi, who authored a book on Asian branding, also concurred that a global public relations drive is not necessary for Singapore at the moment. Unless MICA is privy to knowledge that the WikiLeaks are more damaging than what Foreign Minister George Yeo claims. Come to think of it, Kim Jong-Il couldn't have got over that “psychopathic types with a ‘flabby old chap’ for a leader who prances around stadiums seeking adulation” remark so quickly.