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Mediacorp pulls offensive “fashion police” video following outrage

Mediacorp’s online content streaming service Toggle has taken down a “fashion police” promotional video from its Facebook page following widespread criticism from netizens last night.

The promotional effort featured social media influencer Saffron Sharpe for Mediacorp’s Double Trouble series, hosted by local celebrities Mark Lee and Kumar. It is part of its “Fashion Police” segment which takes on an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek style.

The video involved Sharpe walking along the Orchard Road shopping district commenting on the fashion faux pas and choices of members of the public who have had their faces censored. The individuals featured seemed unaware of what was being shot as Sharpe criticised their fashion choices.

Following the criticism from the public, Mediacorp released a statement on its Facebook page apologising for its contents and told Marketing that it “never meant to cause hurt or insult”.

Toggle first posted the video at approximately 4:00pm on Monday and took it down at 1.30am last night, Marketing confirmed. The company’s swift acknowledgement and apology online also saw the broadcaster being lauded by the public.

Check out the full statement from Mediacorp here:

Before the video was pulled last night, a quick check by Marketing showed that the video garnered about 60,000 views. Marketing has verified with Mediacorp that in total, the video got 1698 shares, 980 reactions – mixed – and 546 comments.

Sharpe has also put out a statement on Facebook apologising for the video and added that it was a “scripted programme”.

In a conversation with Marketing, Edwin Yeo, GM of SPRG said:

“From the few comments on Saffron’s post though, it seems as though some people found it funny. They could be Saffron’s friends or fans, so their views may be biased, but it does raise the possibility that as a nation, we might have become too sensitive.”

He added social media has ungagged populations, and sensitivities are often amplified. Yeo added:

Unwittingly, it’s empowered the ordinary folks to become critics and criticism has devolved from a trained art form to a populist movement. In a way, it’s also become a form of censorship.

While influencers have an immense reach and are making more waves in mainstream media, working with them requires strategic planning as it potentially places brands in a vulnerable position. 

Most recently the local market saw Marigold Peel Fresh’s influencer campaign coming under fire. The campaign drew criticism for its impractical nature, with one of the influencers going as far to say that she carries a carton of the juice with her wherever she goes.

In a recent conference held by Marketing, Aldrina Thirunagaran, assistant vice president of digital marketing at OCBC Bank, said influencers are great but brands need a sound strategy first.

“Today’s audience is incredibly smart, incredibly savvy and it shows that whatever you put out there has to cut through the clutter in a genuine and authentic way,” Thirunagaran said. She added that it boils down to authenticity and the content has to be for the benefit and good of the customer.

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