Are the kindness campaigns working?

An article written by BBC writer Charlotte Ashton which was shared by Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin on his Facebook page has created quite a stir.

“[…]In the Singaporean rat race you are certainly on your own. An unhappy conclusion, I am afraid, from misery city,” said Ashton on the article following her torturous experience on the train as a pregnant lady.

Ashton describes in her article that during her 15-minute ride she was neither assisted nor offered a seat on the train as she crouched on the floor of the train.

In 2013, The Singapore Kindness Movement which tracked and published a Graciousness Index saw a sharp fall in graciousness and Kindness. In the same year, The Singapore Kindness Movement pulled a publicity stunt of having its kindness mascot Singa Lion quit in a public resignation letter.  The 30 year old mascot of the Singapore Kindness Movement  said it was quitting in frustration over having to face "an increasingly angry and disagreeable society."

Meanwhile locally, year after year, we are exposed to The Singapore Kindness Movement's campaigns. How successful exactly are these campaigns? Marketing asked the Singapore Kindness Movement.

A spokesperson, whilst defending the campaign said such incidents do happen but there are other gracious behaviour amongst by the public as well. “The Singapore Kindness movement is contributing in instilling graciousness amongst Singaporeans.”

“However we still have a long way to go,” he said. He added that there are various challenges in marketing the campaign.

“One challenge is that there is no point in large campaigns anymore. This is because communication today is fragmented. Hence to reach out effectively to the public, the communication strategy needs to engage and be interactive,” he said.

“The top down approach doesn’t work anymore.”

While he was unable to disclose all of The Singapore Kindness Movements future marketing plans, he added that going forward it will continue with its strategy to give visibility to real people who demonstrate acts of kindness as these are the people who inspire the public.

Meanwhile the Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Lawrence Wong also noted that “the Singapore Kindness Movement has been stepping up its efforts, including reaching out to young Singaporeans in schools and the community.”

On his Facebook page, Wong said: “One positive sign is that we see more ground-up 'mini-kindness' initiatives from young Singaporeans themselves, like the group which started the “Stand Up for Singapore” movement - they traveled from train to train, and encouraged commuters to give up their seats to those who needed them more.”