Tiger Beer marketing stunt fails to impress: 5 other campaigns in Singapore that did not fly

SINGAPORE - It was revealed on Wednesday that a mysterious old wooden crate found inside a bunker at the foot of Mount Faber was in fact a publicity stunt by Tiger Beer. Some were not so impressed that the crate was in fact not a historical artefact.

On March 2, heritage blogger Jerome Lim wrote a piece on discovering a "tiger's lair" which had a wooden crate that held several items. Among the items were a Tiger Beer bottle and an old Tiger Beer can, a Kodak Brownie camera that appeared to be from the 1950s or 1960s, and a nameplate with the name "Chu Beng Huat" and the number "21509".

In response to his post, someone called Aaron even left a comment: "Do you have the location of this place or rather the pictures? Wish to hear back from you. Especially the pictures. Beng huat is a friend of my family back when we lived in Changi Village. Ever since we moved away we have not heard from his family."

When asked, Tiger Beer, which did not alert Mr Lim to the site, told The Straits Times that it was a publicity campaign and the crate contained items from the 1960s and 1970s, including old Tiger Beer cans launched in 1965.

Tiger Beer will be rolling out limited-edition adaptations of its classic 1965 design in the form of cans and bottles on March 16 as part of its Singapore golden jubilee celebrations.

Mr Rene De Monchy, head of marketing at Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore, said that the firm placed the crate in the little-known bunker "to present a curious angle on the backstory behind some of the nation's most distinct icons in a light-hearted manner".

Here are some other campaigns that did not fly.

1. National Geographic NS stunt at Raffles Place

The National Geographic Channel organised a publicity stunt in which actors dressed as soldiers marched and took commands from passers-by at Raffles Place. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

In 2013, The National Geographic Channel organised a publicity stunt in which actors dressed as soldiers marched and took commands from passers-by at Raffles Place.

It was to promote the second season of a documentary on National Service here, called Every Singaporean Son 2: The Making Of An Officer. It caused a public furore.

The Singapore Army said on Facebook at the time that it was "very disappointed" with the stunt, because it was "disrespectful of our soldiers, and undermines the dedication and commitment of all our soldiers who have served dutifully in the defence of our country".

It added that the army was not informed of the stunt or the use of its uniforms. Many people also voiced their disapproval of the marketing campaign, calling it demeaning to Singaporean soldiers.

2. A Facebook campaign for insurance

Netizens pledged support for a relationship between "Mark", 23, and "Audrey", 47, who documented obstacles to their relationship due to their age gap on Facebook

In a four-minute video, Mark was seen going to pick Audrey up. Towards the end of the clip, a screeching sound comes on and his friends rush out of their car, but it is not shown what happened to Mark. The video then flashes this message: "Unexpected Things Happen In Life. Be insured to have your loved ones assured."

After that, there is a disclaimer to say that the saga of Mark and Audrey was a campaign "which hopes to bring across the social message that nothing in life is certain".

The "couple" even uploaded a YouTube video and set up a website counting down to the day the video was uploaded.

They claimed that was the day they planned to pledge their love for each other.

Netizens lashed out at the campaign on the couple's Facebook page, calling the stunt an "epic fail" and the "worst marketing", among other things.

No one owned up to the campaign, and no insurance company was linked to it.

The Facebook page and the YouTube video appear to have been taken down.

3) Bear-d marketing stunt for Philips Electronics shaver

A screen capture from a video on Stomp of a dark figure which looks like a black bear standing on its hind legs. It was supposedly filmed at a bus stop along Ulu Pandan Road. -- PHOTO: STOMP

In October 2010, social media agency The Secret Little Agency came up with a marketing campaign that featured a video of a fake bear- not that they told anyone it was fake. The video of a bear rummaging a dustbin at a bus stop on Ulu Pandan Road went viral, and caused alarm to residents.

Someone reported a bear sighting to the police.

This marketing stunt involving a person in a bear costume was to promote a Philips Electronics shaver, but it received backlash, and the video clip was even investigated by the police who wanted to verify if it had breached any laws.

A police spokesman at the time said that companies should ensure that public safety, security, and law and order were not compromised by their events.

There was no further reported update on whether the video breached any laws.

Several people were upset by the alarm the video caused, and the resources it wasted.

Three volunteers from the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society trekked through the forest in case a dangerous animal was on the loose, while 12 zoo employees, one armed with a tranquillizer gun, spent more than an hour scouring the area, with four policemen on hand.

4. SingPost's "vandalised" post boxes

A vandalised SingPost mailbox outside Ang Mo Kio MRT station on Jan 5, 2010. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

In January 2010, SingPost had its post boxes covered in graffiti to publicise a post-box art project, but all it did was to cause people to think that it might be a case of vandalism.

Post boxes in Orchard, Holland Village and other areas were spray-painted by a shadowy figure dubbed the Inkman, as part of a viral marketing campaign. The police then warned SingPost.

A police spokesman at the time said: "Police will be taking the matter up with SingPost as this whole episode has caused unnecessary public alarm and wasted valuable resources."

SingPost had sent an e-mail query to the police about the need for a permit for a possible advertising event. "It, however, did not provide us the full picture and details of the publicity stunt," the spokesman said.

The saga began with viral videos making the rounds on several websites, including The Straits Times' online portal Stomp and YouTube, of a masked man spray-painting the post boxes before walking away or getting into a waiting car.

SingPost later said it stopped using the agency, A Group Of People, that came up with the campaign.

5. Scoot's World's Longest Virtual Flight publicity stunt

-- PHOTO: ST FILE

The budget carrier created an app and organised a virtual competition to commemorate its first anniversary in 2013.

The fun game however crashed because of technical difficulties.

Participants had to sign up to take part in the "World's Longest Virtual Flight", an endurance contest.

The game app required participants to keep tapping a button on their smartphone screen every 60 seconds. The last person left tapping at the end would be declared the winner.

An initial 7,000 people registered to take part in the contest, but in the end, due to glitches, only 2,000 managed to "board" the virtual flight before "take-off".

Several "passengers" were unhappy as they had wanted a shot at winning the top prize of $20,000 cash and a year of free flights.

There were more than 1,000 comments on this on Scoot's Facebook page. Many were especially disappointed as they had gone to great lengths to join the contest, with some taking leave from work.

jalmsab@sph.com.sg