Does Stephanie Koh prove controversy a good thing?

As the local public heats up in debate over YouTube musician Stephanie Koh’s provocative declaration: “I am not proud to be Singaporean”, did she just drum up tonnes of publicity for Channel M and sponsor Scoot?

Koh’s lack of national pride sparked heated conversations on Twitter and YouTube with local personalities, such as MediaCorp’s radio jockey DeeKosh, chastising her on her brutal opinions. On the other end of the spectrum; a significant number of netizens lauded the 21-year-old singer for her honesty and ability to speak her mind.

Koh was a contestant on the third season of regional TV reality series, Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3, and was thrust into limelight when she made it to the final few rounds of the singing competition. She beat hundreds of aspiring hopefuls with singing and dancing capabilities from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand to make it to the final rounds of the contest. While ultimately booted off in the final rounds, the feisty singer made an impression in her fleeting appearance on the reality show.

When asked the company’s opinion on the matter, a spokesperson from Scoot said: “The competition was carried out successfully. Stephanie is entitled to her own opinions and we wish her all the best in her music career.”

Personally, while I’m not a fan of her opinions (or singing), I do believe Koh did the show a favour: put it on everyone’s lips.

According to a Sebastian Kim, general manager of Channel M has garnered a fair bit of traction since then, likely to the help of publicity drummed up by Koh. He added that there has been no backlash from advertisers and partners for the show so far.

“Due to her comments, a lot of people are tuning in to see her talent so we are gaining more interest,” Kim told Marketing.

Also searches on YouTube for the show itself and other stars have gone up, he added without revealing numbers.

As an avid fan of reality TV, I find it no surprise that controversy or in this case, sour grapes, make for the best entertainment. Take all the (gazillion) modeling reality shows being aired at the moment. There is always that one catty individual that everybody loves to hate but who never seems to leave the show. That is until of course, the actual winner takes over the glory position.

Speaking of controversy, who could forget Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMA) last year? Cyrus’ risque performance was the talk of the town with VMA viewership seeing a 60% spike from 2012. The performance caught an average of 10.1 million eyeballs and drew in 306,000 Miley/Robin related tweets per minute.

Cyrus not only broke out of her goody Disney “Hannah Montana” image but also managed to grab the attention of fashion mogul Marc Jacobs to be the face of his 2014 Spring collection.

So my point is, while the majority of us are enjoying hating the young opinionated “star” at the moment, Koh could just be our local version of Miley Cyrus.


Rezwana Manjur
Southeast Asia Editor
Marketing Magazine Singapore
Rezwana Manjur, a true blue city girl and complete social animal, spends half her time sifting through advertising scandals, and the other half testing out brands' retail marketing strategies at the mall. She enjoys traveling and fantasising over the charming lads on hit TV show Mad Men. Most weekends, she turns nocturnal, except when brunch comes into play.

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