Vending machine stunt by mystery brand (Circles.Life) draws police

UPDATE: We guessed it right! Circles.Life has finally confirmed that it is the mystery brand behind a recent viral marketing stunt which drew hundreds to cash-dispensing vending machines around the country, prompting police to step in.

Called UNLIMIT, the campaign promotes the online telco's new unlimited data on demand plan for 4G+ speeds for SG$3 each day, subjected to fair use policies. The campaign was revealed at noon today by the online telco which also launched an add-on service to use WhatsApp in 18 countries, along with unlimited outgoing calls.

The online telco also took aim at other telcos in the market offering unlimited data plans. The statement read:

“Circles.Life believes that the current unlimited plans in the market are limiting the customers instead of empowering them. Unlimited plans should not be limited to weekend usage, be throttled after hitting a small data cap or be tied to annual contracts. They also should not be available only to consumers with deep pockets.”

In addition to new services and features, Circles.Life also outlined expansion plans to Indonesia. Indonesia will be the first market out of Singapore Circles.Life expands to, with plans for launch in the second half of the year.

According to the release, Circles.Life has received interest from telco players from multiple geographies looking to bring the same innovation to their respective markets. It added that the expansion is only made possible with Circles-X, Circles.Life’s innovative and proprietary cloud-based infrastructure which allows new country launches in “weeks instead of years and at 5% of the cost”.

“In the same way as how other asset light digital players in entertainment, transportation and hospitality has reimagined their respective industries, Circles.Life believes Circles-X will re-imagine the future of the telco industry,” the statement read.

What happened yesterday

While there is no such thing as a free lunch, the case might be different when it comes to cash. A publicity stunt  has sparked chaos after vending machines which exchange SG$3 for SG$50 were placed in various Singapore locations.

However, the brand behind the campaign, was not unveiled. Called #3dollarballer, the campaign made its first appearance on 27 February 2018 between 5:00pm to 8:00pm at Orchard. Its second appearance was made today between 12:00pm to 3:00pm at Chevron House, this garnered some traction online, with netizens sharing their excitement on various social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. However, the excitement was short-lived as hundreds who turned up congested the area.

Police officers were seen patrolling the area while the organisers tried to disperse the crowd, a check by Marketing found. Another check also found sponsored posts relating to the events being circulated online by various online personalities and micro-influencers. This includes Esmond Tan, who is associated with micro-influencer agency Faves Asia, according to his profile.

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According to its website, information about the man behind the stunt will be revealed on 1 March 2018.

As to who the organisers are, no one knows as of yet. However, we on the Marketing team think it could be the cheeky folks at Circles.Life. The colours on the vending machine also look somewhat similar to the brand's logo, don't you think?


Circles.Life did not confirm to Marketing when approached on 28 February if the stunt was indeed pulled by them.

The online telco has been known to pull daring publicity stunts, including one which saw the telco vandalising"competitor" out-of-home (OOH) assets. The campaign also involved a micro-site created by a fake fourth "telco" called SGMobile, which was eventually converted when Circles.Life launched its “20 GB for SG$20 Data Plus" campaign.

Read also:
Circles.Life responds to controversy over “Hungry for more data” ads
Singtel and Circles.Life cheekily banter over data plans
Circles.Life and StarHub stuck in love triangle with customer