#Fearless4Friday: Digital News Stories that Made Waves in Singapore

The past month was nothing short of a flurry of global and local #epic happenings, some amusing and some more emotionally draining than others. As a wrap up, I have provided a summary of top news that has made waves in the digital communication space in Singapore and Asia.

1.       Starting on a high – World Cup 2014 is the most social one ever.

With more than a billion Facebook interactions and 300 million tweets, the 2014 World Cup was the most social ever. There were more posts, tweets, and photos than any other global event. Cutting through the clutter and creating awareness for a brand in a crowded space is extremely difficult. However, if done right and activated correctly, an event-specific campaign can land the brand in the middle of a global social conversation.

 Case in point, Zeno Singapore worked with Lenovo social-digital marketers to create a global, hashtag-led campaign on football in June. We asked the Lenovo community “Is the world’s largest football extravaganza going to be #32DaysofHeaven or #32DaysofHell for you?” Over the past four weeks, the dueling hashtags and social media competition that resided on www.whatsyourvibe.com, sparked a broad range of conversation and contradiction on the feelings of football and non-football fans within the Lenovo community. At the close of the football event, a short video was filmed by Lenovo which created closure to the emotional roller-coaster ride experienced by Lenovo fans during these #32days of football.

 At the heart of any great campaign, insights and creativity is at the core. Understanding the landscape, listening to the conversation and extracting insights can help inform the campaign and engagement strategy. Of course, creativity is what brings the campaign to life and allowed it to live among the community.

2.       One for the laughs – You bet, you lose… really?

With the high prevalence of problem gambling in Singapore, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) developed an anti-gambling TV commercial which has gone viral on social media. The video showed a troubled boy whose savings were used by his father to bet on Germany at the 2014 World Cup. However, the video became the target of jokes and memes after Germany reached the finals by thrashing the host nation Brazil 7-1. When Germany snatched victory in the final game, viewers and media all over the world has mocked the anti-gambling for the correction prediction of the game.

However, even though the advertisement backfired on the NCPG, news outlets worldwide including Wall Street Journal, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Telegraph, picked up the story and created spoofs and parodies that generated greater publicity for the NCPG. At the end of this saga, we surmised – as the adage goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Really?

3.       Be in good books

In the past few weeks, the Singapore Government has ordered the National Library Board (NLB) to remove three children’s books that portray gay, lesbian, or unconventional families. This move has resulted in the withdrawal of library-related events by several local writers in protest. Politicians and the public also voiced strong opinions against the decisions to pulp the books and sparked a storm of criticism online. A #FreeMyLibrary social media campaign and at least two petitions have been launched in opposition to the move.


4.       The lowest point – National crises

Over the past few weeks, the social media space abounds with endless conversation around the downing of flight #MH17. Separately in Philippines, Typhoon Glenda has become the largest storm to hit Manila in 2014. Many brands have paid their tribute to the victims of #MH17 and #‎GlendaPH and showed support for the families and friends via social media. The power of social media was keenly felt when people use it as a tool to check in with affected families and friends. Social media channels also provided enormous amounts of emotional support along with concrete offers of help.

 However, the magnitude and consequence of events may cause brands to make insensitive comments around such tragedies. Hours after the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down in eastern Ukraine, Singapore Airlines’s Facebook and Twitter updates said its own flights were not using Ukraine airspace. This has triggered a flood of angry responses from the community to Singapore Airlines for not offering condolences and instead posted a message that was perceived as being insensitive to many.

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