Ad Nut
Dec 7, 2018

Singtel, you owe Frank Capra an apology

The brand's Christmas film is an unholy mess with a WTF ending, and a sudden snowfall can't fix it.

This would-be tearjerker from Singtel is simply awful. Emphasis on the "would-be". Because despite pulling out every trick in the book—an adorable doe-eyed girl whose busy parents neglect her, a down-on-his luck guy with a gruff exterior but a heart of gold, a freaking puppy*—the film is too inept to actually provoke any tears, let alone any real feelings, unless you count annoyance toward those who made it.

And then there's the unmitigated failure of an "ending". Watch it now if you haven't already. Ad Nut will wait.

WTF, right? The man gives his dog to the child, without once wondering where her parents or guardians might be, or whether the animal will be well cared for. And then he splits, leaving the girl and his former dog alone in a pedestrian subway. Yes, it's Singapore, so they're probably safe, but still.

Meanwhile, the girl's parents—last seen chastising their domestic helper for losing the kid—are nowhere to be found. They have simply disappeared from the film.

And if Ad Nut may digress for a moment, the parents seemed more annoyed at having their workdays interrupted than they were horrified about the potential loss of their progeny. Because apparently it's a law that working parents must be portrayed as stereotypical workaholics in order to accentuate the importance of family values. Seriously, why do brands get this wrong so often? Do they really think working parents (their own customers, mind you) are self-obsessed and neglectful? Do they not get that parents struggle to balance work and child-rearing?

Sigh. Where was Ad Nut?

Oh yes. To sum up, as the film ends, santa-dude got nothing except some spare change, and he gave his best buddy to a random kid, who might or might not get tearfully reunited with her parents, who might or might not learn a Christmas Lesson®. Actually, it's more likely they will yell at their helper some more before firing her. Then they'll probably phone up the placement agency that vouched for her and shout angrily at a blameless receptionist. The guitar-grabbing hooligans also failed to get their comeuppance.

And then, it starts snowing. In Singapore. It's a miracle, see? Happy ending! Cue the music! Cue the forgettable tagline!

Sorry, Singtel, this ain't no It's a Wonderful Life, and you owe Frank Capra an apology for trying to co-opt the snowfall moment from that beloved holiday film in an attempt to save this unholy mess.

The video was made by Singtel's in-house team, for which Ad Nut recommends some introductory classes in tying up plotlines.

Or maybe Singtel should, you know, phone up an agency next time.

If Ad Nut had seen this sooner, Ad Nut would have lobbied hard for it to be included in the list of the year's poorest ads.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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