Singapore bear stunt goes awry

Singapore bear stunt goes awry

A guerilla ad campaign gone awry may cost the parties involved S$1,000
It's not a bird, it's not even a bear, it's a man dressed in a costume.

What a boo boo. Guess it wasn't a real bear after all.

The Philips SensoTouch 3D shaver.

As it turns out, the supposed bear spotted along Ulu Pandan Road is part of a guerrilla advertising campaign, commissioned by Philips Electronics to launch its Philips SensoTouch 3D product.

They certainly got people's attention, this week's news headlines has been dominated by the Ulu Pandan bear.

The campaign was executed by The Secret Little Agency, a social media agency responsible for other controversial campaigns such as "The Department for Appropriate Behaviour" for the FX Channel in 2008.

Creative partner Nicholas Ye was quoted in an article by Channel News Asia, saying they had called up to enquire with the police if a licence was needed on Sunday before heading down to film the video on Monday at about 2 a.m.

However, no authorities were alerted about the campaign.

As a result, according to a BBC article, the Singapore Zoo dispatched a team armed with a tranquillizer gun. Three members of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society also helped to scour the area on Wednesday evening.

Philips A still from the video released by Philips.

Philips has since responded with a video clarifying the whole debacle and acknowledged through their public relations agency Fleishman Hillard the following:

"We had anticipated the attention that the bear will draw but did not anticipate that it would cause any alarm.  We acknowledge the too-near resemblance of the mascot to a live bear in the bus-stop video."

"In retrospect, perhaps we should have made the bear do something more obvious like a dance at the bus-stop to ensure that consumers knew that this was a humorous stunt.  We sincerely apologize for any concerns raised and inconvenience caused."

For the record, the initial sighting of the supposed bear at the bus-stop was one of many appearances planned.

"We had also intended for the bear to make humorous and tongue-in-cheek escorted, mascot appearances in place of high traffic such as participating in marathons and queuing at hawker centers to buy food etc. Later on, we would form a close link between the bear and the shaver."

These plans however have been shelved.

The seemingly innocent campaign is now being investigated by the police and may be classified as a public nuisance case, which under Section 268 of the Penal Code could lead to a fine of S$1,000.



In between sunning herself in the Caribbean, Bali and other exotic locales, Charlene Fang keeps her feet (and fingers) grounded as the managing editor of She blames her wanderlust on the years spent working as the editor of CNNGo Singapore and Time Out Singapore. Her ramblings have also been published by the likes of Travel+Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Wallpaper*, ELLE and The Australian.

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