Brands score a point for creative solutions to PSLE math problem

Brands score a point for creative solutions to PSLE math problem

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Singapore's Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) made headlines on news and social media once again as both parents and students raised their concerns over a Math problem that was deemed too difficult to solve by the majority. The Math question involved two people, Helen and Ivan, who each had an unspecified number of 50-cent coins and a given number of 20-cent coins. Given that both of them had the same total number of coins, students were then asked to find out who had more money in coins, and the total mass of Ivan's coins; with the weight difference between the two coins provided. 

According to Meltwater, mentions of PSLE jumped by 406% to 5,140 since 1 October 2021, compared to September; with "MOE" being the most frequently occurring keyword since 1 October 2021. Meltwater also revealed that there were 5,180 conversations about PSLE online, from 30 September to 3 October 2021. Most of the chatter came from Twitter, which had 2,170 conversations, followed by 1,390 conversations on forums and 724 on Reddit. Meanwhile, #psle had 85 tweets as of 4 October 2021. 

As the Math problem gained prominence online, brands in Singapore decided to put their own twist to the question to market their offerings while livening the broody situation. Here's how brands flexed their creative skills

DBS Bank

DBS went for a witty approach to promote its DBS Paylah! service on its Facebook. Following the Math problem, DBS ended off with "As they were counting their coins, Jacob bought the last chicken wing using DBS PayLah!." 

psle dbs

Grab Singapore

Grab leveraged on the hype to market its GrabPay card. The company even addressed Helen and Ivan in its Facebook post, saying that they "must be tired from carrying all that change around".

psle grabnew

Hai Kee Soy Sauce Chicken

Hai Kee Soy Sauce Chicken called out to Helen and Ivan in its Facebook post to bring their coins over to their shop. In an accompanying image with a visual of one of its dishes, Hai Kee Soy Sauce Chicken added the caption "We will count for (Helen and Ivan) and we need the coins."

psle chicken

Ministry of Finance (Singapore)

The Ministry of Finance decided to use this opportune moment to remind its followers of the importance of saving. In Its Facebook post, MoF ended off the Math question with "We encourage Helen and Ivan to be prudent and save these coins for a rainy day."

psle mof


OCBC Bank was quick to jump on board to promote its new ATMs, which allow bankers to deposit coins as well. In its Facebook post, OCBC ended the question with "They brought their coins to an OCBC New ATM and banked them in for free. The End."

psle ocbc


Plus!, a Singapore-based rewards programme, took to Facebook to promote going cashless. It started off with the Math problem, followed by the caption "Why count coins when you can pay via FairPrice app in-store and earn LinkPoints at the same time across all FairPrice stores? Go cashless and cardless today!"

psle plus

Singapore General Hospital

Singapore General Hospital (SGH) joined the foray as well, spreading the message of good hygiene during the pandemic. In a Facebook post, SGH said "They both washed their hands thoroughly with soap after they finished counting the coins. Be like Helen and Ivan."

psle sgh

Land Transport Authority

Land Transport Authority (LTA) jumped on board the hype to market SimplyGo, which allows users to use their debit and credit cards to tap and pay for their bus and train fares. In its Facebook post, LTA started off with the Math problem but stopped midway with the caption "Actually, just ditch the coins and level up your commute with SimplyGo instead!"

psle lta

Sengkang Neighbourhood Police Centre

Sengkang Neighbourhood Police Centre seized the opportunity to shed a light on scams with its witty post. The Facebook post included a meme of Batman and Robin, with Robin reciting the PSLE Math problem and Batman saying to focus on fighting scams instead. At the same time, the Sengkang Neighbourhood Police Centre added an extra trivia to the end of its post: "They were promised a 500% increase in their coins by transferring them into a stranger's account. Calculate the number of coins Helen and Ivan will get for doing that."

psle sk spf

SMRT Singapore

SMRT jumped on the chance to market its SMRTConnect app. SMRT's Facebook post started off with the now-iconic Math problem, then said that users "don’t need coins or answers to riddles" to travel with SMRT. SMRT then went on to promote how users can plan their travels with the SMRTConnect app. 

psle smrt

Watsons Singapore

Watsons took the chance to promote its online retail store. In its Facebook post, Watsons said it didn't know why they had so many coins, and that they can just shop online for Watsons products instead. "You don't have to bring your 1.134kg of coins over," added Watsons.

psle watsons

Have you seen any other executions that made you laugh out loud? Let us know at [email protected]!

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