As 2015 nears its end, Campaign Asia-Pacific is reviewing the year by featuring one best-of (or worst-of) list each day. We've got 12 days' worth of the biggest PR disasters, deals, pitches, launches and people moves; the best and worst campaigns; and the oddest stories and quotes we've heard. Click here for all our year-in-review features from not only 2015 but also past years.
Today, we list the 6 most misguided or perplexing campaigns of the year. We hesitate to call these the "worst" because most of them got a lot of notice, and some might even be considered successful. But all bothered us for the dubious reasoning behind them, their flawed execution, or both. Disagree? Comment below or lash out at us (and share your 'worst' list) on Twitter @CampaignAsia.
Tourism Thailand: Come visit our paradise for stalkers
The Tourism Authority of Thailand is trying hard to make viral videos, and succeeding to some extent. Its 'I hate Thailand' video made waves in late 2014, and just this week, a new video called 'Pray for Anna' incited some comment. But is all publicity good publicity? We don't believe so, especially in the case of the video below, released in March. Intended to “promote the unique traditions, cultures and attractions of Thailand to both the local Thai people and international tourists”, it instead attracted criticism for being a “stalker” video that is at best “creepy”.
See our original coverage: The Tourism Thailand video people are calling "creepy"
Brickfields Asia College: Students are bored unless saved by a Beatboxer?
Published on low-brow site Maxman.tv but engineered by the college, this video purported to show a class full of sleepy physics students getting a surprise when their hapless substitute professor turns out to be a popular beatboxer. So the message is that lectures at the school are so boring, your only hope for stimulation is that your professor will suddenly lay down a filthy beat? How this is a good strategy for an educational institution eludes us.
See our original coverage: Beatboxer awakens physics class; message unclear
Samsung: Virtual reality bait and switch?
This is a touching story about a father who's able to witness his child's birth through virtual reality despite being thousands of kilometres away for work. It's undeniably moving. But we took issue because the video implies that the brand's Gear VR headset makes it all possible, when in actual reality (see what we did there?) it requires expensive camera equipment (not included) and probably a team of technicians. Creating confusion about what's actually possible and setting up unrealistic expectations seems especially unwise with virtual reality, which has failed to live up to hype so many times before.
Our original coverage: Birth by virtual reality: Samsung reaches too far in Gear VR video
Cadbury: Wait, how do you want us to experience your chocolates?
Our original headline explained the concept here perfectly: Cadbury's new OOH campaign lets you test out chocolate textures with your bum. We will forever be haunted by this one.
Bar-B-Q Plaza: Would you like tears with that?
For Thai mother's day, the restaurant chain put its employees on camera and made them fill out a questionnaire that brought many to tears over neglecting their mums. This was followed by staged encounters with said mums, where the employees got to express their true feelings and cry some more while the cameras rolled (they also got fed company food). Manipulative in the extreme, the video makes the company look mean even if the people are actors rather than real employees. Instead of a concocted tearjerker and a company-provided meal, how about actually giving your employees mother's day off to spend with their mums?
Our original coverage: Restaurant chain serves heaping helpings of guilt for Thai mother's day
AMC Singapore: They didn't yell 'fire', but is this any better?
Terrified cinema-goers learn they might have been infected by a virus, while hazmat-suited figures perform tests and physically block people from leaving the theatre. Ha ha, joke's on you film fans, you've just been drafted into a panic-inducing promotion for a TV show about a zombie plague!
As with the item just above, whether the participants are in on the setup here is irrelevant to how it makes the brand appear—which in this case is unfeeling and reckless about customer safety. Luckily for AMC, most of the commentary in Singapore focused not on the brand's poor reasoning, but on criticising the innocent moviegoers for trying to get out of the theatre rather than sitting there and accepting their impending death for the good of all Singaporeans.
Our original coverage: Is it wise to yell 'infection' in a crowded Singapore cinema?
UPDATE: Find out what really happened here - https://www.facebook.com/smrtsg/videos/vb.315021665188719/1041687739188771/?type=2&theaterThis actually happened in a Singapore cinema?! I’ve to be honest. This actually scared the ayam goreng lunch out of me. And if something scares the Vigilanteh, then you know that this is really fucking scary. Imagine you are one of the movie-goers. What will you do?--Did you know? Your cat is probably controlling you. Studies have shown that an infected human will have the unconscious need to own a cat, post pictures and watch videos of them. Here's why ➜http://foundily.com/say-internet-kingdom-cats-heres-according-science/Posted by SMRT Feedback / The Vigilanteh on Saturday, August 15, 2015
Fear, The Walking Dead
Many of you have asked about the Fear Experiment that happened in a Singapore cinema. "Why?" "What happened?!" "Where's the ending?" "Why are the infected fuckers running away even when they are told to stay put?". Well, here's what really happened.Posted by SMRT Feedback / The Vigilanteh on Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The following four campaigns also displayed questionable strategy and/or execution, but not quite to the level of our six official selections. (Click the headings for our original coverage.)