Caltex SG’s timely jump on Korean celebrity divorce hype: Trust in agency is crucial

Jumping on the hype of the divorce of Korean celebrity couple Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki broke, Caltex Singapore and media agency partner Wavemaker Singapore were one of the first brands to quickly push out a tongue-in-cheek Facebook post drawing reference to the news on the same day.

The visual by Caltex mimics the show Descendants of the Sun, a military romance drama that the couple both starred in, which many say spurred their romance. In the image, the soldier is shown standing in front of a jeep that has broken down. The caption cheekily reads, “You can’t always prevent a break up but you can prevent your car from breaking down!”.


The post saw Caltex Singapore garnering over 1,100 likes and 465 shares over the past four days. Speaking to Marketing on the success of the social media content, Caltex Singapore brand specialist Abraham Lee said real-time marketing efforts such as these are crucial to building brand affinity amongst its online audience – particularly with the younger drivers in Singapore.

It also learnt from its post in February this year when it jumped on the viral news of a GOJEK passenger claiming to be kidnapped but was simply sitting in a car with an auto-lock function. According to Lee, with the post, Caltex Singapore saw a “significant spike” in its engagement rate and garnered over 2,600 likes and 6,300 shares at the point of writing.

But Lee was quick to add that picking the right topic is also crucial in such moments. “We pick popular trends that show signs of virality among Singaporeans and not simply tap on any topic for the sake of it. Every topic picked should have the creative potential to create a relevant message that connects with customers in a meaningful way,” he added.

Trust in agency is crucial

Meanwhile, in a statement to Marketing, Wavemaker Singapore said the decision to proceed with the post on the Korean couple was made just two hours after the news broke around 10am on 27 June.

The idea was conceptualised and approved within 30 minutes.

While the agency claims that the post was ready by 3.30pm, it was only scheduled at 5pm as the agency wanted to wait for the conversation to reach its peak and it could maximise the exposure.

“For all real-time marketing content, our working process is hyper-accelerated,” explained Aaron Kobes, social & content director at Wavemaker Singapore. He added that the key to hijacking a trend is being part of the conversation at the height of its relevance, which more often than not, is immediately.

On real-time marketing, Kobes said agencies have to have their fingers on the pulse and be on top of the latest trends, news and events. However, it cannot not work without a client who is open-minded, passionate and not afraid to have a little fun. Caltex Singapore for instance, has placed an “immense amount of trust” in the agency to think outside the box, he said.

“The overall sentiment has so far been largely positive. However, the real icing on the cake for Caltex, is the acquisition of new customers who said they started fueling up with Caltex because they’ve grown fond of the brand and the fun-loving content,” said Kobes.

Similar to Caltex Singapore, Durex had also leveraged the news on the same day by putting a Hokkien twist to the couple’s surname “Song”. Its Facebook post showed two story panels, one featuring a couple looking sad and supposedly crying, with a broken heart above them and the words “Not ‘Song’”. Meanwhile, the other panel showed a box of Durex Mutual Climax condoms with the words “Very ‘song’” (Very satisfying). The post was captioned “Same same, but different.”