Creative people striving for publicity should be given some scope to experiment beyond the tried and true routes. They should come up with new ways of seeing things. Otherwise, Singapore would be a dull place indeed. But advertisers should be cognizant of the possible social outcomes of such experimentation.
The recent FairPrice Finest's Dine At Home With Expats misfired when it turned off netizens by not revealing that it was the organiser and sponsor.
NTUC Income's "comic" advertisement mocking property agents showed insensitivity, some claimed. And back in 2010, Philips Electronics' publicity campaign involving a "bear" spotting in Ulu Pandan caused unnecessary alarm among residents in the area and actually led to a search by Singapore Zoo officials and animal welfare activists.
Much time and energy was wasted. As publicity professionals ponder such flops, they should review the tendency among many to rely upon gimmicks to get attention.
Certainly, it is better to be honest and open, and not leave people with the wrong impressions when striving for impact. Instead of banking on gimmicks, why not think out of the box?
One example is the idea of hawker sessions to raise money for charity.
They create a favourable experience for consumers and worthwhile returns for the organiser. A side benefit: bringing local and expat communities together.
There are many examples of creativity to inspire, like the iPad Mini commercial, where an iPad is played like a piano first before the Mini comes in with its catchy second tune; and the Range Rover ad that makes use of the recent flooding to show that the vehicle can be steered through the high waters.
They are amusing, yet they get their message across simply and effectively. No actors in bear costumes poking in dustbins. That's slapstick.
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