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Brand New Media’s Creator Collective competition runs into IP issues

The Creator Collective, a content marketing course organised by Brand New Media, has disqualified the winning team (Magnificent 7) from a content marketing competition due to IP theft. Brand New Media was made aware of the issue by the team who was contacted by Cara Neo, famously known as Singapore’s first mermaid. She also publicly called out the team on social media.

The brief to the particular team was issued by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for its Passion Made Possible campaign. Unfortunately, the final product saw the winning team use unauthorised video clips from Neo from her interviews with CNA and YouTube. The team also hired actresses to impersonate Neo for the competition entry. Neo is the owner of The Singapore Mermaid School and a mermaid performer for events. Neo’s post explains that she was initially contacted to be part of the project but had to drop out due to scheduling issues.

Read her full post here:

When contacted by Marketing, The Creator Collective said it recently discovered that while the team had met with Neo, they did not obtain a talent waiver or permission to use her footage nor the footage of her clients and fans in their video.

“As such, their title and grant of SG$7,000 to produce a real content solution for a brand will be revoked immediately. The panel of judges will decide on a new winner in the coming days,” the statement added. It also stated that the video Magnificent 7 had produced, did not have any commercial value and the winning video was published as part of a showcase of content that was produced at the course.

“However, the Creator Collective wishes to acknowledge that a mistake has been made. To compensate for this oversight, it has offered to create a video for [Neo] to which she will own full rights. The Creator Collective also wishes to apologise to [Neo],” the statement added.

It also extended its apologies to STB, who was the brand partner that issued the mock brief at the content marketing course. In a statement to Marketing, STB said that it “respects intellectual property rights and looks forward to an amicable resolution to this matter.”

According to the statement issued by the Creator Collective, team Magnificent 7 chose to tell Neo’s story as part of their content solution which showcased locals pursuing different passions in Singapore. It added that they chose to commit to this story as they loved how different Syrena’s passion was and that it was Singaporeans recognising the talents of other Singaporeans.

Following the incident, Magnificent 7 also issued a joint statement with an apology. “We acknowledge our oversight and accept the disqualification from the competition. We regret any distress caused to Syrena and all parties involved in this incident,” the team said.

The Creator Collective is a free content marketing course that ran across 10 weeks earlier this year, with the objective to educate and grow a future generation of content creators and marketers in Singapore. The video competition was part of the course’s graduation showcase, which saw all participants being divided into seven groups of 10.

Participants in their groups then had to present their mock content solutions for briefs issued by seven brand partners, namely STB, Chan Brothers Travel, OCBC Bank, Porsche, Scoot, Under Armour and Zalora. STB, Chan Brothers Travel, OCBC Bank, Porsche and Scoot all confirmed their involvement in the course as content brief providers.

The programme is also a partnership between Brand New Media and the Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA), supported by partners such as the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and Singapore Press Holdings, according to its website.

Marketing has reached out to IMDA, Under Armour and Zalora for comment.

(Image courtesy: The Singapore Mermaid School)

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