We don’t know where Singapore telcos got the idea of turning traditionally festive occasions into subdued, tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, emotional rollercoaster sadvertisements from, but hot on the heals of Singtel’s ‘Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner‘ comes a similar themed Chinese New Year 2018 social commentary production from rival Singapore telco StarHub.
While lacking the guilt-trip dripping overtures of Singtel’s most recent production, StarHub’s #NeverGrowApart Chinese New Year 2018 social commentary/ corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages also takes what is traditionally a boisterous, joyous, and festive occasion — well two actually — and turns them into a sombre event, complete with down-beat piano chords.
The video depicts a young man and his ‘wife’ showing off their new home to his ‘parents’. Even talking about plans for a child (which is generally enough to bring a smile to every mothers face, but only barely so on this occasion) before a sombre Chinese New Year dinner. The evening almost over, the ‘son’ offers his mother a traditional ang pao envelope, insisting she take the offered gift.
It is not until in the car going home that the contents are revealed to be — to a mother whose son is leaving the family home — more valuable than any financial offering. (Ed: You will have to watch the video to find out what it is)
As with the Singtel sadvertisement, there is not even a subtle reference to how technology — and Singapore’s especially high quality internet and communications networks in particular — can play a role in bringing families together on special occasions if physical reunions are not possible.
The sole motivation of both sadvertisements seems to be a competition as to who can tug at the heart strings the hardest; who can rack up the most clicks, likes, shares, and comments on social media; while falling back on the excuse of reinforcing traditions.
Given Facebook’s recent announcement on removing brands and news content from newsfeeds though, and the value return of those clicks, likes, and shares is questionable.
One also has to wonder at what the flip-side to all of this family reunion marketing is. As one reader of our previous story on Singtel’s, ‘Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner’ pointed out: “Now Singtel have every parent thinking their kids will make a magic return even if they told them they can not.”
As for the ‘son’. Despite all of his efforts in trying to make his transition to independent adult living and Chinese New Year 2018 a festive event with special food and preparations, his memories of both events will be of a sombre occasion with neither his ‘wife’ or ‘father’ saying a single word for the entire evening. And we have no idea why the parents of the ‘wife’ were excluded from the ‘Chinese New Year celebrations cum house warming.
If the remaining Singapore telcos continue the pattern set by Singtel and StarHub, Chinese New Year 2018 is going to be a fairly glum event in Singapore this year, at least on social media.
If you are feeling depressed help is at hand. In Singapore phone Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) 24-hours per day on 1800 221 4444
To all of our readers who celebrate it, we wish you gong-sshee faa-tseye / gong-hey faa-chwhy
Feature video StarHub
- Singtel Takes Aim at Self-Centred Singaporeans… Again (HD video) (AEC News Today)
- Singtel Jumps on Phubbing To Preserve Ah Ma’s Christmas Joy (HD video) *Updated (AEC News Today)
- StarHub plugs ‘family is the greatest prosperity’ in Chinese New Year campaign (Mumbrella Asia)