NUS ad promising negotiation skills to fight Godzilla leads to application spike

Would you like to learn how to negotiate with Godzilla? Apparently, the marketing team at National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) thinks you do. Launching a new social campaign on Facebook and Instagram, the school told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that it is looking to promote its "Negotiation Strategies for Success" online programme. The programme, which is done in partnership with Emeritus, aims to educate participants on negotiation methods and practices that enhance their creative thinking and contextual analysis capabilities, ultimately improving their ability to negotiate in virtually any situation. 

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Nisha Naseer, assistant head of programmes and marketing, executive education, at LKYSPP, said the ad is one in a series of ads that the school is using to capture attention and spark interest in consumers. The term "Negotiating with Godzilla" was used to reflect negotiating with someone more powerful than the participant. The other ads in the series include "Negotiating with the devil", "Negotiating with hackers", "Negotiating with liars", and "Negotiating with children".  

"We use these extreme examples as case studies towards the end of the sessions as a challenge for the participants of the programme in applying the theory to practice- they need to negotiate with 'Godzilla' and come up with ideas and strategies on how they will go about doing this. The participants’ ideas are then discussed in the next session," she added. 

"Godzilla is used as a case in learning how to gain power in negotiation. Devil is used as a way to learn how to empathise with an evil character- think terrorists, hijackers or criminals. Liars are used as an extreme case in learning about ethical dilemmas in negotiation. Children are used as an extreme case to learn more about the art of influencing," Nisha said. She also told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the response has been a mixture of shock and curiosity as it is break away from the school's usual ads which "tend to feature working professionals". Nonetheless,

The school also saw three times more applications for the programme, as compared to previous runs of similar programmes in which it did not use a more aggressive social media strategy.

Comments regarding the ad seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE showed that Facebook users were amused by the ad. One netizen said the ad has "a cool, impactful title for [an] interesting programme", cheekily adding that maybe he or she will call Mothra (another fictional monster) to negotiate with Godzilla instead. A couple of netizens also mentioned King Kong in their comments, as a likely reference to the upcoming blockbuster movie "Godzilla vs. Kong". Separately, one netizen also reposted the ad with the caption "Yes, I would love to negotiate with Godzilla". 

negotiate with devil

negotiate with devil 

These ads are also LKYSPP's initial attempts on social as its Facebook page was only launched last September, after the school realised the need to be on social to reach out to the digitally skewed masses and  young working professionals. Since then, Naseer said social media has become a useful tool for the school to shape its messages, and portray the school a little less academic and more relatable as it reaches the masses. She said:

Traditionally, we have relied on emails, brochures and collaterals but the world has shifted now and our marketing strategies are now more reflective of this change. In 2020, we started to use an AI assistant to reach out to our leads to keep conversations going.

"This has met with great success in terms of conversions," she added. 

Moving forward, Nisha said the school will be focused on using data analytics to drive big decisions in marketing and on where to focus its resources on. One way it has done so is by harnessing the right data through result measurement of some of its ad campaigns using Google Analytics to learn more about the users who are interested in its products. This, according to Nisha, has worked wonders for it in designing new products and also more importantly in determining where to focus its energy on. To reach out to younger audiences, LKYSPP is also in the midst of designing a new microsite for its executive education arm, to reflect a more modern look and better user experience design. "We are also working on making the microsite more mobile-friendly as more than half of our users access our site from their phones," Nisha added. 

Founded in 2004, LKYSPP is a part of the National University of Singapore, which aims to inspire conversation to transform Asia by pursuing academic and intellectual excellence, and crafting lessons for meaningful public policy-making. Last year, the school bagged the silver award for the category for Best Team (Brand) in MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Marketing Events Awards 2020. It was awarded for its Asia Thinker Series, a programme targeted at policymakers and the general public interested in policy. This came as the school wanted to raise its brand awareness by portraying its thought leadership on key contemporary public policy and international issues. It also wanted to establish a sense of community by creating a knowledge transfer platform where like-minded communities can engage and learn from thought leaders.

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