'Viral marketing nonsense': Speech Academy Asia apologises for clown stunt outside primary schools

The clowns have been reportedly spotted in several locations, such as Katong and Tampines.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - The company behind the clowns spotted in the Marine Parade area has apologised for the panic its costumed employees had caused, and put a stop to its marketing effort.

Mr Kelvin Tan, the director of Speech Academy Asia, told The Straits Times that the school’s marketing team, dressed as clowns, had visited the neighbourhood to promote its courses. 

He apologised sincerely for the commotion caused.

“There was no evil intention behind the costumes and we sincerely apologise for it,” he said. “We will not do it again.” 

Mr Tan said that the clowns had not approached children or asked them to follow them.

“Our employees wouldn't go around saying such things,” he added.

Dear Parents, With reference to the news spreading online, of a promoter clad in a clown costume spotted outside...

Posted by Speech Academy Asia on Sunday, September 19, 2021

The clown sightings had caused a stir within the neighbourhood and in online communities. 

Parents with children attending Tao Nan School were informed that people dressed as clowns had been seen loitering outside the school. 

The individuals, who were also spotted near other primary schools, had asked children to follow them, Tao Nan School principal Poh Qinyu said in a letter to parents seen by ST.

She urged parents to inform their children not to be lured by any strangers and to notify the school and the police immediately if any suspicious characters were seen near the school premises. 

The clowns have been reportedly spotted in several locations, such as Katong and Tampines.

Police told ST that they have received multiple reports of people dressed as clowns and approaching children at various primary schools.

“Members of the public are advised to stay away from strangers and to report any suspicious persons or activities to the police,” the spokesman said. 

Police investigations are underway. 

Marine Parade GRC MP Tan Chuan-Jin uploaded a photo of one of the individuals, who was dressed as a clown and seen in Bedok South, in a Facebook post on Monday.

He said: “Whoever is doing what I assume to be some viral marketing nonsense, stop it!”

He added: “I trust the police are investigating this. It’s not amusing and just plain dangerous.”

Dr Tan See Leng, who is also an MP for Marine Parade GRC, urged parents to remind their children to be vigilant and stay within the school grounds if they are waiting for their parents. 

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This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.