The Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) recently launched a million-dollar year-long advertising campaign to encourage PMEBs in Singapore to upgrade their knowledge and skills. The campaign, conceptualised by advertising agency J Walter Thompson and led by the Corporate Training and Professional Development (CTPD) division at SIM, kicked off in October 2006 with a series of print and outdoor advertisements, and an interactive game.

Print ads bearing the headlines ‘Stay Current with Corporate Training, or else…’ featured office cleaners, a storeroom, junk yards and trash cans. Outdoors, the idea took the form of scrolling posters that read ‘Sign up for Corporate Training. Save Yourself!” and featured a young executive plunging into a bin through the scrolling action of the posters.

On 20th November 2006, an eye-catching and provocative ambient media campaign was launched, utilising rubbish bins and dumpsters strategically placed at Raffles Place Park, to drive home the key message – stay current, or else…

“We are sending a tough message but that is the harsh reality of the corporate world. Executives have to stay relevant to keep up with changes or risk getting sidelined, irrelevant and ultimately retrenched. We know that the message we are championing could be deemed as controversial and even offensive to some. So that is why we are doing this in an eye-catching and yet humorous manner,” said Jeffery Tan, Director of CTPD at SIM.

“Right from the outset, the team at SIM challenged JWT to give them communication ideas that were out of the ordinary. This meant ideas people would be willing to spend time with across a whole spectrum of media: not only important traditional channels like print but also ambient, digital, events and even internally within the SIM organisation. We all feel excited by the work,” said Angus Fraser, Managing Director, JWT Singapore.

It is too early to measure the full results of this year-long campaign, but it has certainly met SIM’s objective of presenting its message in an eye-catching way! The campaign generated media coverage in Lianhe WanBao, My Paper and The New Paper. It was also a point of discussion in 2 radio stations, 97.2FM and 100.3FM. SIM reports being inundated with enquiries since the dumpsters hit the streets.

Apart from above-the-line media, an eDM was sent out to close to 15,000 executives to partic-ipate in an online game at www.relevance2day.com. The game involves a series of business-related questions, and if answered correctly, would take the player to the top level. SIM is giving out up to $1,000 worth of Corporate Training vouchers in a monthly draw to all registered players of the game. The first draw started on 30th November 2006 and the last will be on 30th April 2007.

In the first 2 months of the campaign, thousands of executives have already participated in the online game, and SIM reports an increase of 300% in visits to its website for November.

Besides PMEBs, who are the campaign’s primary target, the campaign also urges employers and HR professionals who are responsible for the developmental needs of their organisation’s employees to invest in upgrading the skills of their staff. One version of its print advertisements targets employers and HR professionals with the headline “If your employees are outdated, so is your business.”