Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Actress Rebecca Lim's "Retiring" Stunt

Google Cache of  Rebecca Lim’s “retirement”

Rebecca Lim: Celebrity sell or sell-out?

IF YOU don’t know by now why Rebecca Lim is being labeled a sell-out, try Googling “NTUC Income” and looking under the ‘News’ category. The award-winning Mediacorp actress caused a stir last week when she announced her “retirement” on Instagram but then released a video the next day to say that it was all an act to bring attention to insurer NTUC Income’s retirement plans.

The admission of the lie was flippant, enhanced by Mediacorp entertainment magazine 8 Days calling “Fake out!” on their Instagram account, like one does at the pulling of a juvenile prank. Mediacorp news outlets TODAY and Channel NewsAsia both gave credence to the lie by publishing the news of her retirement, but deleted or hid the news reports after it was revealed to be fake. Neither outlet has followed up on the scandal.

The PR stunt earned a harsh response, and many felt cheated by the cheap trick of using the outpouring of emotion and well-wishes over her fake retirement for commercial gain. People on social media started calling her names like “another dumb money grabbing actress”. Others were quick to point the finger at NTUC Income’s marketing team for a “lousy PR stunt” that damages the company’s integrity. Celebrity blogger mrbrown turned on caps lock on Facebook to slam both Rebecca Lim and the insurer for lying.

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NTUC Income’s explanation for Rebecca Lim ‘retiring’ is a problematic non-apology

The Internet went up in arms when they found out Mediacorp artiste Rebecca Lim wasn’t REALLY retiring from showbiz. But instead was endorsing NTUC Income’s retirement planning products.

Lim did say she was “sorry for any misunderstanding” but added she would not have done things any differently.

NTUC Income, in a Facebook post, said that “We did not set out to mislead through Rebecca’s ‘retiring’ announcement. Instead, we hoped to draw attention to the importance of securing one’s financial future.”

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Three stupid things about the Rebecca “retiring, not retiring” incident

Earlier yesterday Rebecca Lim, supposedly one of MediaCorp’s brighter and more popular stars, posted messages on Facebook and Instagram that gave the impression that she was retiring. The “news” was carried on TODAY and Channel News Asia, both of which belong to MediaCorp.

Given that Ms Lim seemed to be in the prime of her career, having just won some major awards in the recent years, her “announcement” that she was “retiring” came as quite a shock. But it turned out that it was a hoax. Or rather, a marketing campaign for some retirement planning thing from NTUC Income.
There was such a hue and cry when people realised that Ms Lim’s “retirement” was fake. CNA and TODAY have since pulled their “reports”. But… you know… Internet. Even after you try to pull the articles… there’s still an online echo (also known as Google Cache…) so… too bad… their mistake for being trigger happy (or desperate for “news”) will kind of live on to haunt them.
I think there are three things that are incredibly stupid about this whole incident:
  • the stupidity of some people’s response
  • the stupidity of pulling such a stunt to sell something
  • the stupidity of the mainstream “news” channels
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By 'retiring', Rebecca Lim shows us how not to promote retirement planning

On Friday, Lim, who won Best Actress at the Star Awards last year, announced on Instagram:
“I’ve decided to do something that will change my life. I have been thinking about it for a while now as I know it has to be done. I’m retiring."
Retiring? At 29? She can’t even withdraw any of her CPF yet. Someone gave her this post-showbiz career tip on Facebook:
“First thing to do — apply to ISCA as associate member and commence your accountancy profession. Don’t put your accountancy degree to waste.”
That’s not bad advice and very timely since it’s tax season.

related: Watch NTUC Income's Rebecca Lim video & call your financial consultant

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Another marketing stunt gone wrong

In case you missed the news, Rebecca Lim isn’t retiring. Yet. Her retirement announcement was part of a publicity stunt by NTUC Income.

Well, obviously both Rebecca Lim and NTUC Income are getting backlash from the public. What were the marketers doing? How do you expect people to trust a company when they pull this kind of stupid publicity stunt? And I thought trust is very important in the insurance industry. So who approved such marketing stunt? Didn’t they know they will get such backlash?

This isn’t the first time a publicity stunt of this nature gone wrong. Back in 2011, there was a marketing campaign involving a “couple” documenting obstacles to their relationship on Facebook and getting public support for their wedding. On the “wedding day”, the guy was “killed” in an accident and it was revealed that everything is a publicity stunt by a Insurance company. Till this date, nobody claims responsibility to the campaign because of the backlash.

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NTUC Income teaches us how to not apologise
WE HATE non-apologies. We hate them from soulless corporations. We hate them from politicians. We hate them from authority figures. We hate them from Martin Shkreli. We hate them from holier-than-thou types who think that any admission of fault whatsoever will cause the ground under their feet to swallow them up and undermine all the OTHER good work they are doing – can’t you see?
#sorrynotsorry should be the hashtag for NTUC Income’s reaction to their PR stunt where they hired actress Rebecca Lim to say she was retiring. On Friday morning, the actress said she was retiring in an Instagram post. That same night, she posted a video revealing that she really wasn’t and that the attention-grabbing stunt was to promote NTUC Income’s retirement plans.
Well, here’s a guide on how to not apologise from the best of the best!
  • Don’t ever actually say “sorry”
  • Blame your tragic lack of superpowers
  • Remember that nobody can read your mind
  • Rewrite the dictionary
  • Focus on the money
  • Start a conversation about something else
  • I’m sorry that it’s your fault
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Playing with semantics is not wise, NTUC Income

So, here’s the thing: while Rebecca Lim is being (rightly) castigated for the publicity stunt gone awry and refusing to apologise for her part in it, along comes the company behind it, with PR goons in tow, to try and explain away the awful thinking behind the ill-conceived mess.

First, there’s the NTUC Income’s chief marketing officer, Mr Marcus Chew, 41, who said the following:
“We did not set out to mislead anyone. We regret upsetting anyone over the weekend.”
Note: “We regret…” is not exactly an apology. But that’s another matter.
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Insurer expresses regret over 'retirement' stunt

NTUC Income has expressed regret to anyone upset by an Instagram post by popular actress Rebecca Lim last week that said she was retiring when she was not. But it stopped short of apologising for the publicity stunt which backfired.

At a press conference yesterday, the insurance firm said it had worded the post in collaboration with the actress, whom it had engaged to talk about retirement planning.

After Ms Lim, 29, said in the post last Friday that she was retiring, fans started speculating about the reasons for her decision.

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It was all a publicity stunt – Actress Rebecca Lim misled the public that she was retiring from showbiz

Yesterday, local television actress Rebecca Lim via her Instagram, made a shocking retirement announcement.

She wrote on her social media platform that she had decided to do something that will change her life, and that she has been thinking about it for a while.

She announced: “Yes, I am retiring. I know you may have questions for me and I will answer them real soon. Meanwhile, be happy for me”.

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Rebecca Lim’s ‘retiring’ semantics and the ethics of advertising

On Feb 12, MediaCorp actress Rebecca Lim announced on her Instagram that she is “retiring”. She said, “Hi everyone. I’ve decided to do something that will change my life. I have been thinking about it for a while now as I know it has to be done. Yes, I am retiring. I know you may have questions for me and I will answer them real soon. Meanwhile, be happy for me.”

Everyone, except for a few perpetual sceptics, immediately understood what this plainly meant. As is obvious, the construction of the message and the use of the word “retiring” suggested Rebecca Lim was retiring, as in, leaving her job soon. Both TODAY and Channel News Asia believed she was retiring (in the normal sense). Her fans and almost everyone who replied believed it too, as is evidenced from their well-wishes. Only NTUC Income’s marketing agency was in on this and they could not clarify sooner, presumably because marketing experts don’t use social media on weekends.

On Feb 15, NTUC Income posted a contrived response on its Facebook page:
“Retiring is a journey and not an end. It’s about gaining financial independence to live life to the fullest today and be future ready. Retiring happens at various stages for different people and we encourage young people to begin the journey today. We did not set out to mislead through Rebecca’s ‘retiring’ announcement. Instead, we hoped to draw attention to the importance of securing one’s financial future.”
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Actress Rebecca Lim's post on 'retiring' not meant to mislead anyone: NTUC Income

Actress Rebecca Lim's Instagram post on her 'retiring' was not meant to mislead the public, insurance company NTUC Income said at a press conference on Monday (Feb 15).

Hundreds of Lim's fans and the media fell for an Instagram post that the 29-yr-old star put up last Friday, implying that she was retiring from show business.

But the post turned out to be a publicity stunt involving NTUC Income, to remind young Singaporeans to plan financially for retirement.

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Actress Rebecca Lim clarifies she is not retiring from show business

Hundreds of local actress Rebecca Lim's fans and the media fell for a publicity stunt of hers for an endorsement deal.

Contrary to what an Instagram post of hers implied, she is not 'retiring' from show business.

The 29-yr-old star clarified in a conference call at about 8.20pm on Friday night (Feb 12) that her Instagram post earlier that day was part of a collaboration with insurance company NTUC Income.

related: Rebecca Lim, last year's Best Actress at Star Awards, is 'retiring'

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Rebecca Lim trolls Singapore with her ‘retiring’; people are not amused

Earlier in the day on Feb. 12, MediaCorp actress Rebecca Lim posted updates to her Instagram and Facebook account with a statement which included this line – “Yes, I am retiring”.

She ended the statement off cryptically that she would answer questions ‘real soon’.

Most mainstream media outlets in Singapore reported on her ‘retirement’ without getting any further answers from Lim. Channel News Asia and TODAY, however, had taken their articles down shortly after Lim’s social media postings.

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For all of you who really thought that @limrebecca is retiring... Well, fake out! She's not! Turns out the actress is only "advocating the mindset of early financial planning so we don't have to worry when we do retire," she just told us over the phone.

As for the hoo-ha her faux-retirement caused today, Becks says she's "very sorry" and thus needed to "clear the air immediately". More info about her new endorsement with an insurance company will be revealed in a press con on Monday.

And now, after all that commotion, we guess it's also time for us to retire... To bed we mean.

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mrbrown FB

Mediacorp's Rebecca Lim on her Instagram: "Hi everyone I've decided to do something that will change my life. I have been thinking about it for a while now as I know it has to be done. Yes, I am retiring. I know you may have questions for me and I will answer them real soon. Meanwhile, be happy for me."

She's retiring? Oh wait, it was a publicity stunt for some insurance company.
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Disappearing Mediacorp articles on Lim’s retirement

Mediacorp had also said that no news outlet was informed of the stunt prior to the conference call at 8.20pm. It is not known then why both Channel NewsAsia and TODAY‘s articles on Lim’s retirement were taken down earlier in the day.

We have provided screenshots of both articles which went offline:

And what they looked like when they were still up:

Google Cache of CNA’s “report” on the “news” of Rebecca Lim’s “retirement”
Google cache of TODAY’s “report” on the “news” of Rebecca Lim’s “retirement”

So why kill such a newsworthy story?

The Singapore Daily
– crazyrandomchatter: 3 stupid things about Rebecca “retiring, not retiring” incident
– The Middle Ground: Rebecca Lim: Celebrity sell or sell-out?
– S M Ong: Watch NTUC Income’s Rebecca Lim video & call yr financial consultant
– Under The Angsana Tree: Actress Rebecca Lim's "Retiring" Stunt

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