Singaporean Viral Surprise

This week Singaporean social media has been buzzing about this “viral” video:

The reaction to the video caught Singapore Tourism Board (STB) by “surpise” and they removed the video. The discussion has not stopped though.

I don’t argue that the ad is quite hideous. I actually first bumped in the video in my FB newsfeed with the caption “I can´t stop vomiting”. Overall I think there is no reason to panic about, there is three lessons for every brand to learn about this “fiasco”:

1. Best way to draw attention to video is to remove it
Removing the video was total overreaction from STB. Firstly there is no such thing as removing something from Internet. Removed content is like Arnold Schwarzenegger: it will be back. Removing something just draws attention to it. Secondly it just draws more attention to it. If STB had left the video to its YouTube page, some people would maybe have found other STB content inspired by that. Even this newly upped version has gained over 60k views, which is quite good amount for advertising content in Singapore.

2.There is more horrible things in the world than doing a one horrible ad
Unfortunately the reality is that many firms do ads like this every day and no one raises an eyebrow. STB has done quite a lot of good content as well, such as this:


Singapore Board of Tourism from Yellow Box Studios on Vimeo.

3.Parody is the highest form of flattery

You can go viral from good and bad reasons, but this is quite far cry from a real full-blown social media crisis. The real problem for brands is not that people talk negative things about them. The problem is that no one is talking about them at all. When you start getting your first negative comments that just means that enough people have seen your content. If you spark any kind of emotion, it shows that people care about the brand. Snarky blog posts and parodies are an opportunity to join the conversation. STB should have taken more lighthearted attitude to the whole hoopla and turn these parodies into their own advantage.

I think overall Singapore Tourism Board should be happy that this video has raised so much emotion and conversation. It shows that people care deeply on what kind of message Singapore conveys abroad. Also it raises hope for Singaporean advertising scene. People should raise hell more often when they see a bad ad. There is still too much mediocrity around in advertising. Hopefully this gives us more opportunities to do more good and relevant advertising.

That is not only right for the brands, it is right for the audience as well.

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