Have we gone overboard with SG50 branding?

Since last year, a little red dot bearing the words SG50 has been slapped across every brand campaign, event and product imaginable across Singapore. According to the SG50 website, the logo celebrates the Singaporean spirit – “signifying that our dreams are not limited by the physical size of our island nation”.

Personally, I am excited to celebrate the nation turning 50 and promoting all things Singaporean. However, it seems as though every where we look, we are flooded by a vision of red polka dots. And one can only expect the campaign messages to amplify as the year progresses. While I love my country, as a consumer, the wave of red dots have become somewhat muted and no longer bears weight on if or not I actually purchase a product.

In fact, I recently came across a blog called “Simi Sai Also SG50” (which means “Any Sh*t can also Can Be SG50”) that made me wonder: Is the best strategy for SG50 to do nothing at all?

In a conversation with Lars Voedisch, founder of PRecious Communications, he said the SG50 event was a double-edged sword for most marketers.

Brands want to show their support to Singapore and SG50 and do not want to miss out on a perceived opportunity. However, just by doing so, brands might actually be wasting their marketing dollars as their message might be swept away in the flood of SG50-linked stories.

“The SG50 scenario is much like the Super Bowl or the Oscars where too many brands try to leverage the chatter, but only a few succeed. Are you willing to take that risk with your limited budget?” he asked.

He added that every brand manager needed to answer one simple question – what is your brand’s essence and how do you stay relevant to the target audiences. Before getting creative, brands need to see if they can actually contribute to SG50 and its business objectives.

Don Anderson, managing director at We Are Social, echoed similar sentiments adding that brands needed to be honest about whether they were just trying to ride a conversational trend, or did they truly want to celebrate this major milestone in Singapore’s history?

“You can’t fool people – they’ll easily read through the lines if a brand is doing this for all the wrong reasons, and that will only translate to negative brand sentiment across social. If you’re just doing it for the purpose of hijacking a rather significant event that has emotional and national pride associations, expect that less than noble activities may backfire,” Anderson said.

He added that given the sheer volume of conversations already happening around this milestone, marketers would be wise to look elsewhere for opportunities to “cut through the clutter” of ongoing advertising and related brand communications.

Stephen Mangham, founder of Mangham Gaxiola, said the slew of campaigns were expected because it was a massive milestone in Singapore’s history.

“It’s essentially a year-long celebration. You cannot blame companies for looking to associate their brands with SG50. But the companies need to make it relevant to their brand messaging. Otherwise it’s just borrowed interest, and the brand ads will do more to promote SG50 than their own product,” Mangham said.

(Photo courtesy: https://simisaialsosg50.wordpress.com/)