PR experts slam MediaCorp's bid to exploit Japan quake for adverts

Netizens slammed MediaCorp for soliciting for advertisers soon after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan.

According to the email that MediaCorp sent, the cost of a 30-second TV commercial was $5,000.

Now, a public relations and marketing magazine has added to the negative feedback MediaCorp has received. spoke to several marketing directors who said MediaCorp's actions would leave many with a poor image of the station.

Linda Locke, a marketing director at Club21 told the website that MediaCorp needs to "set a clear set of rules for the sales and marketing department for appropriate strategies and tactics at such times of disaster."

Another commentator, CEO Joseph Baladi at BrandAsian said that it was unacceptable for any organisation, especially a news agency, to appear opportunistic. He told the website: "The CEO should himself should personally and quickly publicly apologise as well as make concrete offers to be part of the solution."
MediaCorp had apologised for the gaffe in a statement on its website.

In the statement, Mr Edwin Koh, Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Sales Planning, MediaCorp clarified that the edm was sent to a targeted group of clients and agencies that had interest in being part of "breaking news" coverage.

Added Mr Koh, "We apologize unreservedly if we had been seen to be insensitive to the gravity of the situation. The staff concerned has been counseled to be more circumspect; we hope the public will be forgiving and we can focus our attention and efforts on the affected victims of this most unfortunate tragedy."

It is not known if any of the MediaCorp staff will be fired over the incident.

In a similar incident that occurred in Malaysia, Malay language newspaper Berita Harian published a caricature of a Japanese character, Ultraman, running away from a tsunami.

Readers called the caricature "distasteful" and "inconsiderate", while local politicians demanded that the publication apologise.

Its editor posted a message on Berita Harian's Facebook page which said: ""We apologise for the publication of the cartoon. We had no intention of poking fun at the disaster that has befallen the nation of Japan and its people.

"In fact, we greatly sympathise with their plight and share the sorrow of the Japanese people,"