By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) — This week’s over-the-top marketing campaign is a YouTube video from Mentos that hopes to convince Singaporeans to get busy. Like literally. It asks them to “make a little human that looks like you and me” and “make Singapore’s birthrate spike” on National Day, a Singaporean holiday, which will be celebrated on Thursday.
“This August the 9th, it’s time to do our civic duty,” a deep-voiced man says in the video, produced by an ad agency on behalf of Mentos mints. “And I’m not talking about speeches, fireworks or parades.” (Woman in the background: “But I like that stuff.”) “I’m talking about the stuff after that stuff. I’m talking about making a baby, baby. You ready?”
Just watch the thing:
It turns out that the country has a “problem” with population decline. Fertility rates are going down. The population is aging. Growth of the small city-state’s population was 1% in 2010 and shrank to 0.5% in 2011.
Like many developed countries, Singapore’s key population challenges are our low fertility and an ageing population. Our aim is to achieve a sustainable population that supports both economic growth and social cohesion, so that Singapore remains vibrant and liveable.
Oh, yeah. And the country also runs a dating service, called the Social Development Network.
That government group is referenced (of course, right?) in the “National Night” song:
It’s National Night and I want a baby, boo. I know you want it. So does the S.D.U.
(The S.D.U. was renamed the S.D.N. in 2009. But “U” apparently rhymes better.)
Just FYI, new parents in Singapore are offered thousands of dollars ($18,000 for the fifth child!) for having children, according to a government site.
It’s unclear if the government was involved in the Mentos have-sex-now-and-increase-our-population video campaign, which also has a related Facebook page. The ad firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty developed the the video. A spokesperson told the Financial Times that the government of Singapore did not request to approve the campaign.
It’s unclear, of course, if this will actually work. But it certainly has people in Western media circles talking.
The Singapore government has often been criticized for being too Grandgrind-like and strait-laced. So, no joke, congrats to whoever broke the stereotype by doing this. And … ummm, Happy National Day!
And it’s resulted in plenty of funny/bossy tweets. Like this one:
Perhaps the most striking thing about the video is its lack of subtlety. Here are a few lines:
“Let your patriotism explode. Because it’s National Night.”
“Put this track on repeat. Let’s put a bao (bun) in your oven!”
“We gotta go all the way for Singapore, you know what I’m sayin?”
Yes. Yes, we do.
Let us what you think of the video and Singapore’s birthrate issues in the comments.