NV Residences

The biggest creative challenge faced when marketing a property development is clearly differentiating it from its nearest competitors. So, imagine how much more challenging it is when your client is in fact competing with itself.

This was the case in point when CDL began selling off a massive land parcel in Pasir Ris in five separate stages. We had barely finished marketing Livia, their first project in the area, when we were tasked with launching its immediate neighbor.

Our concept was inspired by this particular development’s elegantly understated architecture which subtly echoed Miami Modernist Architecture (MiMo) and its well planned communal facilities which included a series linear pools and a boardwalk that had an almost catwalk feel to it.

To our minds, although this project was marketed to HDB upgraders, it imbued an undeniable sense of glamour and sophistication. We felt the best way to portray this would be to showcase the project as a place where residents would feel like movie stars.

False Cover

NV Residences Launch DPS

NV Residence Ad 1 NV Residence Ad 2 NV Residence Ad 3

And so we developed a TV commercial that showcased a family’s glamorous lifestyle in this condominium and a series of print ads that were designed like movie posters.

This movie star concept extended into the brochure we designed with playful elements including a plastic band designed to look like a strip of film and copywriting that played up this celebrity theme.

NV Residences Outdoor-Sales Office

The concept was also extended throughout the showflat and sales gallery design and even on feeder busses from the nearest MRT station.

And then of course, the name. With its elegantly styling – but affordable pricing – this project represented a new standard for upgrader condominiums in Singapore. A New Vogue for living if you will. We shortened this statement down to just two letters and very simple but memorable name: NV Residences.


Senior Citizens Week 2002





The brief for Senior Citizen’s Week 2002 was simple. Educate both the general population and older members of society that senior citizens have much to contribute to society.

Obviously nobody can really do very much about getting older. Plastic surgery can only take you so far – just ask Mickey Rourke. But over and above all the other challenges of getting on in years – failing senses, joints wearing out and so on, perhaps the biggest challenge of all is a mental one. The thought that being old also means being obsolete.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. With age comes experience. You learn how to deal with all the challenges that life can throw at you simply because you’ve lived through them. And that gives you the kind of perspective and, yes, wisdom, that is an invaluable resource for younger, less experienced generations.

So, with these TV commercials I refused to refer to these people as been ‘old’ or indeed as ‘senior citizens’. Instead I positioned them as people with more experience in life. This approach led to a very nice tagline that had an elegant double meaning:

Share The Experience Of A LIfetime.

Challenger TV Commercial


What’s the best way to sell high tech digital services? Go old school analog.

That’s what I decided to do when Challenger asked me to develop a TV commercial to sell their automatic warranty service for all computer purchases.

And, because we were dealing directly with Mr. Loo, the CEO and a true-blue entrepreneur who didn’t mind taking calculated risks,  the approval process was instantaneous and the whole project took less than 2 weeks to execute from concept to final delivery.

The production of this commercial was enormous fun: shooting on 35mm film stock, desaturating and adding noise and scratches during colour grading, jump cut editing and getting the composer to play his piano really badly. The budget was so low I had to pull in favours everywhere and even direct the thing myself.

But it was the talent who really made this commercial work. A Chinese Charlie Chaplin. Who would have imagined such a thing?

The launch of W Residences Singapore

Property advertising, for all its frustrations, offers plenty of creative opportunities to extend a concept beyond just print and broadcast media. As a creative person I always get a certain buzz out of seeing how I can adapt and extend my ideas to all kinds of applications.

The launch of W Residences Singapore for City Developments Ltd is a good example of this.

Essentially we had to introduce the international W brand to Singapore and sell the entire ‘W Lifestyle’ to a market that was completely unfamiliar with this brand. At the same time we had to balance the corporate protocols of Starwood Hotels (who owned the W brand) with the realities of marketing an expensive property in Singapore for our client, CDL.

No easy task.

However it did give us the opportunity to have a little bit of fun and throw in some very playful elements into the marketing mix.

W Residences Ad 1W Residences Ad 2W Residences Ad 3W Residences Ad 5

The launch press campaign featured a series of full page, full colour consecutive ads that introduced the W brand to Singapore, talked about W Hotels, revealed the property and finally explained the W “Whatever/Whenever” service philosophy.

Mr. Kwek Leng Beng, CDL’s chairman, loved our TV commercial and the W Residences brochure and floor plan booklets proved very popular with marketing agents.

W Residences Brochure

The box containing the brochure featured a glow-in-the-dark W and a die-cut carrying handle. The brochure itself boasted a brushed metal W bookmark. There were two versions of the floor plan booklet, the only difference between them being that one had a metallic purple cover and the other a metallic silver cover.

W Residences Game

As part of the press kit, journalists received a Tic Tac Toe game that featured a W, an O and W instead of an X and O. We also included a card that allowed them to view an augmented reality overview of the W Residences perspective.

Our colour scheme and graphic style was even extended to the on site Sales Office.

Outdoor-Sales Office

NEA Clean & Green Week 2001




If there is one thing Singapore is known for, it’s for being clean and green. And it didn’t get that way by accident.

There’s a veritable army of cleaners and road sweepers out there every day, ensuring that everything is as close to spic and span as possible. There are also plenty of hefty fines for those foolish and careless enough to litter in the first place.

And of course there are annual government campaigns to encourage Singaporeans to take an active part in keeping Singapore clean and green. These campaigns go up for tender every year and both local and international agencies compete fiercely for them.

Clean & Green Week 2001 was no exception. That particular year the National Environment Agency (NEA) wanted to focus on recycling. And the brief was to find a way to encourage people to put things like empty drink cans, plastic bottles and papers into their respective recycling bins.

My solution was to take a very lateral approach to the challenge and get these objects to make a personal appeal to the the television viewer.

Instead of just being thrown away, if these relatively humble items were recycled, they could be ‘reincarnated’ as something much more exciting.

A mere aluminum drink can could become part of a sports car.

A basic plastic bottle could be reformed into the casing of  a computer.

A daily newspaper could have a second life as a sheet of art paper.

To sum everything up, I wrote the slogan – “Don’t throw away my future. Recycle me!”

To my delight, NEA and the acting Minister for the Environment, Mr. Lim Swee Say, were very taken with this concept and adopted it wholesale.

And in the true spirit of recycling, the bottle, can and newspaper characters I created (and drew) went on to enjoy an extended lifespan for 2 or 3 years after the campaign officially finished, appearing on bus backs, stickers and post-it-note pads.


The Great M1/SingTel War 1997





When M1, Singapore’s second Telco, made its grand entrance into the marketplace in 1997, SingTel, the incumbent monopoly, were less than impressed.

They responded to M1’s launch with a fairly lavish TV commercial using a red (their corporate colour) umbrella to show how much bigger and stronger they were than this cheeky upstart.

Our response was to create a series of 20 second commercials using simple 3D animation to point out SingTel’s weaknesses and M1’s comparative strengths.

Of course it was all done with a gentle sense of humour… although I don’t think SingTel really appreciated it.

Citibank SMRT media


Let’s face it, even at the best of times, banks make for challenging clients.

Putting aside all the legal requirements that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has put in place, you will have countless  hurdles to leap over as your precious concepts work their way through a very complex and unwieldy approval process. By the time every t has been crossed and every i dotted, little if anything is left of your original concept.

Which is why little real bank work ever makes it to a creative person’s portfolio.

This outdoor execution, promoting the use of Citibank Credit Cards throughout the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), is, I think, one of the few exceptions to the above rule.

There were a few things going for it.

1. There was very little time  – 3 weeks – in which to approve and execute it.

2. As a result, approval became the responsibility of just one individual as opposed to the usual countless layers of bureaucracy it would normally have to go through.

3. The concept  – transforming Orchard and Somerset MRT stations into what looked like department stores – was literally sold to the client as a rough sketch (and believe me, because I drew it this was a really rough sketch) at a coffee shop table.

4. This meant that we could refine the concept as we executed it. So instead of having to put all our efforts into a really beautiful initial visual, we could focus on making the final product as good as possible without being distracted by an over finished and thus limited initial concept.

Of course this narrow time frame meant everything was put on an accelerated schedule – photography, digital imaging and final layout. Over the next three weeks nobody slept very much and weekends were completely burned. There was the usual last minute dramas, screaming matches, hysterical tears and panic attacks. And that was just me.

But the result was an outdoor campaign that really broke the mold of the way banks typically advertised.

And it helped earn Citibank their first ever regional bank marketing award.