BreadTalk moves quickly to remedy LKY bun fiasco

BreadTalk has been giving out free cake to those in the lines paying tribute to the late minister mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

The company has confirmed the act to Marketing and said that it is “doing its part as a Singaporean [brand] with this small gesture for the many fellow Singaporeans respectfully and patiently waiting in the queue”. It will be continuing until Saturday.

Earlier, the brand also apologised for creating a new bun to commemorate the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew which angered the public. Along with the apology, BreadTalk also said it will be donating SG$30,000 to Community Chest.

Local PR agency Right Hook Communications’ head of creative communications, Daniel Yap, said that the fact that BreadTalk reacted quickly and fulfilled specific consumer demands will probably allow for a quick recovery from its misjudgment in creating the product.

Yap noted that BreadTalk also acceded quickly to “the most sensible feedback on their page – to join other companies in giving out freebies at the parliament queue” and to make a charitable donation without strings attached. Meanwhile, its social media and PR teams  were also very effective at engaging commentators online and offline to apologise and highlight the changes they have made.

“Brands should remember that real gestures of goodwill must come with no strings attached. The public might not normally begrudge a marketing tactic, but they are very sensitive to marketing and profiteering in times of high emotion,” said Yap.

“I think BreadTalk’s move has the potential to limit some of the recent brand damage, however it is essential that they are not seen to be further be capitalising off the situation. It’s important for this to be a low key and authentic gesture,” said Joseph Barratt, founder of Mutant Communications.

BreadTalk isn’t the only brand to show acts of kindness in the time of the nation’s mourning.

According to The New Paper, local florist at Raffles Place, Artisan De Fleurs, was giving away roses and daisies to people who wanted to pay their respects to the late minister. On the Straits Times, it was also reported that Fullerton Hotel set up iced water dispensers with plastic cups for the public.

Also tenants such as Song Fa Bak Kut Teh eatery and Cuba Libre at local night spot Clark Quay also set up a tables to provide water to members of the public and provided cold water to thirsty members of the public. They also set up fans and chairs for the elderly members of the public.

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