Scaring the Public To Sell a Product is Just Plain Dumb

Ok let me be more direct – I feel pissed. The idea is just plain dumb and inconsiderate. When I first heard about the escaped bear it seemed scary. I thought what if the bear got hold of a little kid. I am sure many parents living in the Ulu Pandan area must have been alarmed. I am not even a parent and I felt worried. The video on YouTube seemed so real too as it seemed like an amateur video filmed on the go. I didn’t think it was a prank. The earlier video I saw featured the voice of a father and son so it seemed even more real. And stranger things have happened before, so anything is possible. What if one day a wild animal is really on the loose? -then this would be like a ‘cry wolf’ tale and you know what happens in those cases.

Now that I hear it’s a marketing campaign all I can say it – what a dumb idea. A childish prank that just seems totally cocky when the truth is revealed. I don’t agree that all press is good press. I am all for being creative, but this campaign just makes me shake my head.

The story has now been picked up by BBC and for once I am not ashamed by Singapore’s reaction. Most times we come of as uptight fuddy duddies, but in this case I think it was totally warranted that many people were upset by the irresponsible ad campaign tactics.

Extracted from BBC Online News:

Philips has apologised for what was, in fact, a human in a bear costume, filmed rummaging through rubbish bins.

‘Very sorry’
Police later said they were investigating Philips for “an offence of public nuisance under section 268 of the penal code”.

If found guilty, Philips faces a fine of S$1,000 ($767, £483).

Philips’ public relations agency issued a statement on the incident: “We acknowledge that the resemblance of the mascot to a live bear has caused some public concern in the neighbourhood where the mascot was sighted.

“We had anticipated the attention that the bear will draw but have no intention to cause any alarm. We would like to apologise for any concern caused.”

Reports suggest that the search for the non-existent bear involved 12 people from Singapore’s Wildlife Reserves staff, three people from an animal protection group, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), and several police.

The Straits Times newspaper’s citizen journalism website Stomp received the hoax video.

It reported that residents around Ulu Pandan Road, where the video was shot, had been nervous, fearing a wild bear was on the loose.

“We’re just glad that even though there’s a lot of time and resources wasted, that there’s no bear on the loose,” an Acres spokesperson said.

Read more about it here.


I can’t believe you gave the ok to this ad, Philips Singapore! Makes me think twice about buying stuff from you. A thousand Singapore dollar fine would be a pittance for you.


About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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9 Responses to Scaring the Public To Sell a Product is Just Plain Dumb

  1. Kirsten says:

    I don’t get what the point of having the bear was. And surely they should have informed the authorities or something?

    • bookjunkie says:

      The ad people/ Philips Singapore Marketing people, just wanted to be clever and do a pun on the phrase ‘close shave’. I wouldn’t even be surprised if they knew the fine was just S$1000 which was probably just a fraction of the ad cost.

      • Crystal says:

        That is absolutely moronic. As is the fine…I expect far more from SG. You’d think they would at least charge enough to cover all the resources used plus a heavy fine for scaring the public.

        Absolutely idiotic.

      • lynnette-net says:

        HAHAHAHA. I really laughed when I read this in the papers! was the scare worth it? I think its irresponsible… and they didn’t get the proper permit and inform the authorities about it either right?

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  3. J says:

    It did cross my mind that the bear may be a fake when I saw the first video.

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