Saturday, August 3, 2013
National Geographic Channel's guerilla marketing for OCS documentary misfires badly
Decorations and Uniforms Act
(Original Enactment: Ordinance 5 of 1922)
REVISED EDITION 1985
(30th March 1987)
An Act to prevent the unauthorised use of or wearing of certain orders, decorations, medals, emblems and uniforms and for purposes connected therewith.
[10th March 1922]
—(1) If any unauthorised person uses or wears —
any insignia of any order instituted by the President;
any decoration or medal, or the ribbon of any decoration or medal, so instituted;
any naval, military or air force decoration, medal, bar, clasp or ribbon;
any badge, stripe or emblem supplied or authorised by the Armed Forces Council or by the President;
any uniform or part of a uniform of the naval, military, air or police forces; or
anything so nearly resembling any insignia, decoration, medal, bar, clasp, ribbon, badge, stripe, emblem or uniform or part of a uniform as above-mentioned that it is calculated to deceive,
and if any unauthorised person assumes or uses any title of rank in the military, naval or air forces, or any letters after his name indicating the possession of any order, decoration or medal, that person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction before a Magistrate’s Court to a fine not exceeding $400 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.
The Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) should send a clear and unambiguous message to the National Geographic Channel that its guerilla marketing campaign for an upcoming TV documentary misfired big time.
If publicity for Every Singaporean Son (ESS) is what they seek, perhaps slapping NatGeo with a fine and imprisoning the fake soldiers for offences committed under the Decorations and Uniforms Act would send awareness of the documentary sky high.
Images from Straits Times online
Their publicity stunt in the heart of Singapore's business district on Friday, where passersby were invited to shout drill commands at a platoon of "soldiers" dressed in regulation SAF garb makes absolute ESSes of the Singapore Army.
From the get-go, the ESS marketing effort appeared to be led by rank amateurs who are clueless how to profile the SAF in a proper fashion.
The print ad which appears on Page 2 of this month's edition of Pioneer magazine should have been a leading indicator of the liberties their marketing gurus are prepared to take to sell their product. The picture of two SAF servicemen is reversed, resulting in the sword being held in the wrong hand and the SAR-21 assault rifle shouldered improperly.
It would be interesting to find out whether the FA for Pioneer's August issue raised any eyebrows with MINDEF/SAF when the draft issue went through the usual clearance process.
With 20:20 hindsight, that lapse could have afforded MINDEF/SAF a timely intervention to ask NatGeo about the publicity blitz planned for a documentary that would show viewers what Officer Cadets go through in their 38-week quest to become commissioned officers.
MINDEF/SAF could have asked the critical question, "What else do you have planned for ESS publicity?", before the Defence Ministry, SAF and the institution of National Service in Singapore ended up as collateral damage from a misfired publicity stunt.
That stunt may prompt Singaporean tax payers to ask just what sort of storyline ESS will have across its various episodes and whether similar liberties will be taken in the story telling.
Concerns flagged out by netizens are natural, expected and reasonable as the first touch points before ESS even airs (the print ad and marketing gimmick in Raffles Place) both bombed.
We have experienced a number of guerilla marketing stunts going wrong in recent years. It's high time we send a strong deterrent message against creative minds who believe they can execute, then backpeddle with an apology and get away with lunatic ideas.
Posted by David Boey at 8:21 PM