I was at the movies this week and saw this somewhat odd ad selling tourism in Singapore.

I am sure they were not intending on audience participation, such as calling out "get stuffed" in response to their "get lost."

The ad came across as contrived, forced, and desperately wanting to be edgy and falling way short; a bit like something produced at a school where students had to guess what might sound cool to the target audience based on their own assumptions.

Having lived in Singapore for almost three years, I simply cannot imagine a Singaporean saying "get lost" in the context they were using the phrase in. (Unlike Elle Macpherson Lara Bingle's "Where the bloody hell are you?" in THAT tourism campaign. The debatable merits of the campaign aside, at least what she said was believable.)

Is this a case of knowing enough about the subtleties of a language to get into dangerous waters, but not enough to pull it off the desired effect? Or yet another attempt at trying to spin too hard when perhaps staying real would have been more effective?

I am reminded of the following similarly odd way of using English in Singapore: A bank promotion telling me to "open up and get more."; and... drum roll... A display ad with a satin-clad actress on a bed saying "My secret to beauty? I swallow."