E-commerce firm redesigns vouchers after taking flak for marketing stunt that mimicked govt letters

Mr David Lim, COO of Anxing and GaiGai, said the previously-issued Goodwill Disbursement Credit vouchers would be scrapped. PHOTOS: SYAMIL SAPARI, GAIGAI

SINGAPORE - E-commerce firm GaiGai, which came under flak for a marketing campaign that used mailers that looked like they were sent by the Government, has revamped the design and name of its vouchers. 

It will scrap what it called Goodwill Disbursement Credit or GDC vouchers and issue from Friday (Aug 19) the new Essential Good Subsidy vouchers worth $25, said Mr David Lim, chief operating officer of An Xing Technology, which owns GaiGai. 

The company sent letters in July to residents in Hougang and Serangoon informing them that they were entitled to GDC vouchers worth $55, which made some people think the vouchers were from the Government.

After receiving the letters last month, netizens noticed similarities between the GDC vouchers and the Government's Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers.

GaiGai's promotional material also included a Merlion in the letterhead.

The company said the vouchers were its way of giving back to society.

Mr Lim said: "The person who was designing the marketing collateral noticed it rhymed with the Community Development Council vouchers and took inspiration from them."

CDC vouchers worth $100 were given to every Singaporean household to use at heartland shops and food stalls this year and last year, with the Government sending out letters about the disbursement.

GaiGai acknowledged in a Facebook post on Aug 8 that its marketing campaign had misled some people.

Mr Lim said the use of the Merlion was meant to pay tribute to the nation, as his team wanted to tie in its campaign with National Day celebrations.

He added that he had checked through the logos of various government agencies and determined that the Merlion was not used in any of them.

He also said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) had encouraged the use of the Merlion logo.

However, a check on STB's website showed that the Merlion symbol is not permitted to be used as part of a logo, including in letterheads used by businesses.

"We are a young start-up, formed by a young team. We're not perfect, and we learn as we go," said Mr Lim, referring to the controversy.

The police have confirmed that a report was lodged and they are looking into the matter.

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