A guerrilla campaign by postal company SingPost to promote the upcoming Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore has led to public outcry over the stunt’s “acts of vandalism”.
According to local reports, the campaign, which involved a masked man spray-painting mailboxes over the New Year weekend, has led to complaints from the public and online where viral videos of the stunt were hosted or playing.
Local police have had to step in to investigate. A police spokesman has said that the matter would now be taken up with the postal company who had caused “unnecessary public alarm and wasted valuable resources”.
SingPost’s group chief executive Wilson Tan has since issued an apology for the “undue alarm and inconvenience” caused.
The company had earlier informed the police of the publicity stunt which would involve street art being painted on post boxes but did not specify details of its execution.
A Group of People, which developed the campaign, had also checked with the police if it needed a public entertainment licence for the stunt but was told it was not necessary.
The viral marketing campaign, dubbed ‘Express yourself’, was meant to highlight SingPost’s involvement in the YOG and to raise awareness of creativity and self-expression, in line with the message behind the sporting event, according to the firm’s VP of marketing, Steve Ng.
One local PR agency head said: “It was not a bad idea, as the campaign has succeeded at some levels with linking SingPost’s involvement and promotion of the Games. However, there were some factors in the campaign’s execution that could have been better considered, namely vandalism, which is still perceived by the general public as negative and this stunt is viewed as reinforcing that negative stereotype. Thus linking youths with such activity might not be ideal.”
From a public relations standpoint, the source added that SingPost has done what it could for now, and should wait on the incident to pass.