Mr Lee Kuan Yew who was the Prime Minister of Singapore for 31 years passed away in the wee hours of Monday morning, 23 March 2015 at age 91.
A tribute page was set up for Mr Lee Kuan Yew before his death and images commemorating Mr Lee were distributed throughout social media with governmental organisations changing their profile pictures and cover photos on Facebook to black or gray to honour the 7-day period of national mourning as instructed by the Prime Minister's office of Singapore on Monday.
Riding on the wave of publicity surrounding what the masses refer to as "Singapore's founding father" 's death, private businesses started following suit.
Unethical marketing practices
Zebra Technologies Singapore
Brands based in Singapore started posting tributes of Mr Lee. Some brands posted it a whole 8 hours after the morning's breaking announcement of his death and got little response due to the fact that it was plain and simply irrelevant to their customers.
A late post not only displays insincerity but shows a brand desperate to milk whatever publicity they can get from the death of a famous figure for their own needs.
Running Lab is a speciality running equipment store in Singapore. Upon hearing news of Mr Lee's death, they chose to feature a picture of Mr Lee in his running days without requesting for permission from the original photographer.
In a bid to showcase the running lifestyle, running attire, shoes and basically push their sportswear products, they leveraged the death of a famous person to do so. Using Mr Lee's death as an advertising opportunity is not only in bad taste as it shows no respect for the deceased and his family, but demonstrates how poor the marketing standards of the social media community manager is.
Bread Talk is a follower of Marketing Magazine hence they should know better about ethics in marketing practice.
Unfortunately, their head of marketing strategy has made a big mistake by capitalizing on the passing of Mr Lee.
BreadTalk tries to push a "special bun" to mark the late Mr Lee which retails at $2 each. Although all proceeds will be given to charity, using Mr Lee's name to sell bread is simply distasteful.
Such blatant ignorance can only stem from one root cause. Many junior marketers who are not formally trained in marketing are left to manage social media marketing which some management staff still believe is as simple as creating posts/ marketing messages and disseminating them on the various online social channels.
To avoid making the same mistakes as other brands, talk to us about proper social media marketing management today.