Following the uproar regarding its initial post riding on the racist video shot by one netizen Dave Prakash and his girlfriend, Circles.Life Singapore has now released a follow up statement through another Instagram post stating: "We listen to your feedback because we value you, our customers, the most."
The post, also featured on its Facebook page, said that it values the "path of growth and accountability not only as a brand, but as humans behind it". The post which consisted of two images also revealed a remake of the previous ad that opened doors for the backlash it received. The amended ad now reads: "This post was co-created by _______, ________, and _______. But it doesn't matter, because we're a brand that is 100% for the people."
The latest post has raked in 113 likes and 55 comments on Instagram within 47 minutes of being published. However, netizens aren't letting the matter die down quickly, taking to its comment section to call out the new statement for not being an apology. One comment even asked the telco brand to acknowledge the "PR disaster" and "apologise for perpetuating unhealthy stereotypes". Jumping on the PR commentary, another netizen claimed that the brand required "better PR". Its post on Facebook however, did not see the same enthusiasm as its Instagram post, with 13 reactions, 1 comment and 12 shares at the time of writing.
Delbert Stanley Ty, head of marketing at Circles.Life told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE in a statement that Circles.Life has always been about giving power back to customers.
“We listen to our customers and put them at the forefront of everything we do. Our most recent post, shared on Instagram and Facebook was created with the intention of supporting all races and promoting equality in Singapore,” Ty said. He added that this is in line with the numerous campaigns Circles.Life has created to promote inclusivity - the most recent being the Family Plan, where the telco challenged the social construct of a nuclear family. Ty added:
We're going to continue the conversation as we always do, in an honest, sincere manner.
"We know that our post has stirred conversation and we're not shying away from it. Instead, we're giving power back to our customers by asking how they would have written the post, if it was up to them. We aren't just anti-racist, we're pro-people. We simply don't see race, because we see people as people,” Ty added.
This "second wave" follows an ad that was published on its social pages yesterday. It was criticised by netizens for being "tone deaf". The original post read: "This post was designed by a Filipino. Copywritten by a Malay. Approved by a Chinese. From a Singaporean brand that is 100% for the people."
The telco's trendjacking attempt which came after a string of racist incidents in Singapore was not well received by netizens today. Its original post has garnered 1,269 likes and 636 comments. The comment section shared a theme of anger and confusion.
Its ad even led to a comment claiming that marketers needed to have their own anti-racism work and understand terms such as "wokewashing" and "tokenism". According to the Cambridge dictionary, tokenism represents actions that result from pretending to give advantage to groups in society that are often unfairly treated, in order to portray the appearance of fairness. Meanwhile, a handful also sarcastically commented that the Chinese got it wrong for approving the ad, while one netizen also said Filipino is not a race.
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