Monday, August 15, 2016

A PR Faux Pas

I’m sure you have read the frenzied media reports around Singapore swimming sensation, Joseph Schooling's groundbreaking Olympic gold medal win at Rio 2016. 
If you know his story, then you are aware that his spectacular success belongs to him and him alone. He has dared to dream big.
Of course, he should be grateful to his parents, Colin and May, who had willingly invested over $1 million of their own money to fund their son’s Olympic dream. Not to forget too, his coaches who were there for him.
And yet, Schooling graciously dedicated his win to all Singaporeans and his birth nation, Singapore:
That was the cue for everybody in the country to rush forward and start demanding for a piece of the action. Everybody had wanted to hitch a ride on Schooling’s thrilling triumph.

This was understandable, maybe even justifiable. After all. Schooling’s achievement was astonishing, awesome, amazing. The immeasurable amount of PR mileage to be gained is prodigious. If the publicity hijack had been successful.

But in their haste to exploit Schooling, individuals and companies stumbled and ended up looking very foolish. One particular case involves SIA.
Singapore Airlines were quick to present Schooling with a KrisFlyer Elite Gold card and one million KrisFlyer miles, “because the King of the Butterfly deserves a Great Way to Fly”.
There's nothing wrong with that. But then they had to spoil it by putting up the photo below:
Schooling was the celebrity but he was conveniently forgotten.
So if you examine the picture, you will need a couple more seconds before you can locate Schooling. 

It would seem that he had been banished to the back row. I dunno – maybe his time in the limelight was over when they took this photograph.
The focus had returned to the SIA folks and especially the guy seated in the middle. Schooling had been effectively eclipsed.
Perhaps, the middle guy is a hotshot. Maybe, it was his PR idea to milk Schooling. So he wanted the credit by commanding center stage in the photo.
Or maybe it was his birthday, so this was actually his birthday bash.
I suppose, times are bad even in Singapore – so cut costs lah! Two celebrations in one!
Poor Schooling had to stand at the back because he may have been told to stay back – at least, to enjoy a slice of the cake! His continued presence will provide more photo opportunities for the SIA people as they take selfies and/or wefies with a world champ. A first time that Singapore won a gold medal at the Olympics wad!
And what were SIA thinking of when they decided to use the Singapore flag as a tablecloth?
I thought Malaysians are stupid. Welcome to the Idiot Club, Singapore! You get a free pass to join! 
In case, you wanted more – kindly read the comments that came in following this faux pas:
The EPL began well for Liverpool when they beat Arsenal 4-3 on Sunday. It was the latter who opened scoring through Theo Walcottt in the thirty-first minute. But Jurgen Klopp's side stormed back as a Philippe Countinho brace (45+1; 56) and strikes from Adam Lallana (49) and Sadio Mane (63) proved enough to seal the points. 

A day earlier, five Exco members, i.e. President, VPE, VPPR, Secretary and SAA representing Liquid Gold Advanced Toastmasters Club attended COT1 @ Sasana Kijang in KL. 

The only good thing that came out from this humdrum event was that it allowed me to reconnect with fellow Toastmasters from many different clubs, particularly from Divisions P and W. After all, one hundred and eighty-six club officers were present that day.


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