Chris J Reed
Nov 13, 2013

Has The New Paper set marketing in Singapore back 20 years?

The promotion in Singapore showing attractive women with the tagline ‘Pick me up’ is not just demeaning, it’s not clever marketing, says the author

Has The New Paper set marketing in Singapore back 20 years?



Back in the '70s and '80s it was very common to see any kind of brand marketing itself using a half-naked woman. Any brand that wanted to attract men just went “Well what shall we do? I know let’s put a half-naked woman on our advert and that’ll do nicely”.  And they did.

That all changed in the more PC '90s when people began to realise that this was 1) demeaning to women and 2) not very clever marketing as it would turn off as many people as it would attract, would often attract the wrong kind of customer and certainly wouldn’t communicate very sophisticated brand values.

The New Paper in Singapore appears to want to go back to the '80s, just like most of the radio stations in Singapore do. See the current campaign running on taxis all across the island.

With a very corny strapline of “Let’s get fresh. Pick me up” next to a female with long legs, high heels and becoming eyes, we are clearly meant to think that she wants us to pick her up. Quite what this has to do with the new refreshed New Paper is beyond me. Even the sub strapline of “The New Paper – Refreshed. Read us aNew [sic]” makes no sense.

What has been “refreshed”?Why should we “pick it up”?Is it still the same downmarket tabloid that makes the National Enquirer look sophisticated? What has changed? According to the marketing, nothing but a leap back in time to a more sexist era. Even if you look at The New Paper’s website it doesn’t help. Nothing about what content or part of its offering has been “refreshed”, so why the lowest common denominator appealing campaign?

I know most of their readers are men and most will find this woman attractive, but surely the new content inside the paper or new website should be the focus of the marketing rather than a desperate ploy to bring in customers with the promise of sex. Is that the best your creative team could come up with?

Ironically the affairs website has just been banned by Singapore for containing content that is not conducive to Singapore’s family values. Where does that leave this advert for The New Paper? Is this advert conducive to Singapore’s family values? Will it be banned too? Of course not: The New Paper is owned by SPH, which Singapore makes money from.

Chris J Reed has 25 years of senior marketing experience on both the client and agency side in the UK and now in Asia-Pacific based in Singapore. He is the CMO at mobile-centric social-media-entertainment brand mig33.
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