Case Study: Why Negative Publicity Could Help

Last week, I came across a piece of news on Yahoo that a Singapore blogger’s video publicity stunt slammed. Everything started with the appearance of this video on YouTube:

The uploader by the ID of greendude2809 described:

If im not wrong, this is the famous blogger thy-dowager fighting with some girl over some guy outside club… over-reacting sia, leave your dirty laundry at home la, damn WTF LOLz…

which later on was updated:

LOL, confirm liao, its that blogger PEGGY HENG LOR!!!. –

THE BOYFRIEND AND HER just emailed me lo ask me to remove the video, even offer money sia!! HAHAHA part II in my friend’s camera le, wait till he book out from camp, maybe i will upload it up on youtube. what do your think?

I’ll comment on this later; it was just a beginning of the whole story. This greendude2809 uploaded another video last Monday as the second part that portrays a scene wherein blogger and the 22 year old model Peggy Heng enters a room and kneels in front of a man, who unbuckles his belt and starts to undo his jeans:

There’s no more exciting part for you in this video; she soon turns around abruptly and addresses the camera, saying, “But that is not the way to solve your relationship problems.”

Okay, now we know the videos are for promoting a dating event. Miss Heng also claimed that it’s also for social cause, what they call Greenlight Movement, the rise of singles and of cheating cases in Singapore; she was quoted as saying,

If I were to reveal the story behind the first video without that portion (with the guy), it won’t be that effective. Having that part is necessary to bring across the point, which is the social cause.

The videos and story soon spread all over several news media and received a lot of criticism and negative publicity. A Singapore Internet user commented,

Whoever thought of this marketing tactic really needs to brush up on their skills. Because all you get is negative publicity.

It’s definitely good try with viral video marketing. But, is it really a bad example or failed efforts as commented by many on the Internet?

What I Didn’t Like About It

The second part of the video was alright in my opinion but it also made the “description” part of the Part 1 video look so manipulative. I came across some marketers and business owners who couldn’t get themselves out of the manipulation mindset, which in their mind is how viral campaign can work and it probably makes them feel good about themselves.

Sincerely or not, some companies’ cause marketing campaign did help some people in some way and make the world a better place while at the same time promoted their business. However, Miss Heng’s social cause claim doesn’t make any sense at all, which makes the campaign look worse.

I’ll Consider It A Successful Campaign, Though

Agree that this generated massive negative publicity; the second video received only 14 likes but 207 dislikes on YouTube. However, the second video only generated over 100,000 views in less than ten days. The cost? Very likely under 100 bucks.

But what about negative publicity? The campaign was for a dating event basically nobody heard of and from a company few people know. Tell me what image can it hurt? None. It’s fake, manipulative, negative publicity…but it certainly attracted lots of attention and at least some guys and gals will attend the event anyway  just for fun. Seriously, how many people go to dating event at clubs to get a husband or wife?

So, it’s a successful campaign, though I don’t like it personally. It generated negative publicity which however is not likely to decrease the evaluation of the events and hence achieved the objective: high awareness; low cost.

Well that’s not all. The negative publicity actually hurts; not the dating event, but Miss Heng, the so-called celebrity blogger in Singapore.

Bonus tip: Stanford and Tel Aviv University researchers found that consumers are more likely to buy your product if you reveal that it’s not perfect. 

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