Singapore Management University (SMU) has recalled an email providing students with a 10% discount storewide for Durex and Okamoto condoms on local online condom store Happy Mail, if they used the coupon code "SMU2017".
According to multiple media reports, the email read "Study hard, play even harder!". It was later retracted by the business development arm of the SMU Students' Association, SMU Bizcom. In a follow up email which Marketing obtained, Bizcom wrote "We hereby apologise for the mistake in sending out the previous emails and are deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused." Marketing understands this was not a publicity stunt by Happy Mail.
In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson for Happy Mail said it was merely a simple coupon code marketing campaign that evolved into what it is now, rather than the company attempting an outright publicity stunt. While Happy Mail thought there might be a small group of people who may not be too comfortable with the campaign or may find it a little controversial, the publicity from this was "definitely" beyond their expectations.
"We intend to continue with our usual marketing plans such as EDMs, potentially collaborate with partners online and offline, to bring about greater awareness of Happy Mail, the alternative of purchasing condoms online, the importance of practicing safe sex and the likes," the spokesperson said.
An SMU's spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia that Bizcom periodically receives requests from merchants and vendors to disseminate electronic mailers to students for a small fee. However, there are rules that forbid the circulation of mailers by certain companies such as those selling condoms, tobacco and alcohol. The spokesperson added that a newer Bizcom member failed to peruse the rules before sending the electronic mailer, and that Bizcom's president had initially attempted to recall the mailer but was unsuccessful.
Marketing has reached out to SMU for comment.