Saying sex sells it’s too big of a stretch here, but Singapore is using pretty faces to promote citizens participation in the upcoming Budget 2018 is an exemplary move. Or is it?
It’s no secret that most young adults no longer consume traditional media or even read news online. Therefore, Singapore’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) hits where eyeballs are: Instagram.
According to Cloudrock, Singapore has 1.9 million or 63% of connected consumers on Instagram and almost 85% of them are younger than 45. Dr Brian Lee, head of the communications programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, said the government’s strategy to leverage on Instagramers to reach out to young people is a savvy move, though it has its limitations.
“If it’s about awareness, it will be effective. But it may not promote understanding or changes in attitude or behaviour,
“But to generate awareness is a good start. Younger Singaporeans will have their way to search for pertinent information once they are aware of the issue,” he said.
The campaign is executed collectively with a marketing company called StarNgage. The one month run to promote Budget 2018 is aimed to encourage young Singaporeans to share their concern with the government, and learn more about the budget and how it will affect their lives.
StarNgage chief community officer Terrence Ngu said 50 influencers are attached to this campaign. All influencers have a follower count between 1,300 to 35,000. (To Malaysian readers, note that Singapore’s population is 5.6M. Of course, the follower amount is much smaller.)
In an interview with The Straits Times, MOF spokesman told the daily that the campaign is estimated to reach 225,000 users on Instagram. The ministry didn’t reveal how much they spent in this campaign but assured the public that it’s in accordance with market rates.
While the move to use influencers to promote government’s agenda is unprecedented in most countries, it’s worth to know that if the method is used wrongly, such as using it to change political opinion, it actually violates many ethical codes because the influencers are citizens too. Electorates being paid to promote government interest isn’t the most pleasant things to hear in most countries.
Ever since the news of paid influencers promoting Budget 2018 emerged, some netizens couldn’t sit tight with the government’s move. Here are some comments we gathered that make some good (and hilarious) points.
The right audience that fails to get the message:
Wrong investment, MOF.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the government should pay citizens to promote government message? Let us know in the comments below.