Advertisers and marketers are often tasked to take advantage of festive holidays to bring in the crowd with catchy taglines and creative advertisements. As most festive holidays in Singapore center around religious tradition and culture, it is important that the advertisement does not offend or against them.

For IKEA Singapore, their "Bling Glamour Home" Raya advertisement has come under fire on their Facebook Page on how IKEA Singapore's creative definition as a total misinterpretation of the Muslim community.

Even though I am not a Muslim, I found this IKEA advertisement to be a display of ignorance on the creative team on how Hari Raya Aidilfitri is celebrated.

If the creative team took just ten minutes to Google and understand the real meaning of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festival, it would have same them from the backlash of fans, especially those from the Muslim community.

Hari Raya Aidilftri is the"festival of breaking of the fast". A quick Google search shared that by fasting when the sun is up, it acts as a reminder of the "suffering of the poor". Yet, this advertisement serves to depict the celebration as to display one's extravagance of richness and wealth. Even for a non-Muslim, it is easy to see why the Muslim community is against this ad.

Ironically, in using "bling" or gold to depict this display of one's extravagance of wealth, IKEA Singapore has further demonstrated its lack of understanding of, not just the Hari Raya Aidilftri celebration, the teaching of the Koran, the central religious text of Islam, itself where wearing gold, by man, is considered Haram - an act to prohibited by Allah.


'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, took some silk in his right hand and some gold in his left hand and then he said, "These two are haram for the males among my followers."

(Reported in Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadith no. 1642 and also in An-Nasai, Hadith No. 5170.)

The erudite scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi also shared that "There is a social aim underlying the prohibition of men wearing gold. The prohibition of gold and silk to males is part of a broader Islamic program of combating luxuriousness in living. From the Qur'anic point of view, luxurious living leads to weakness among nations and to their eventual downfall; the existence of luxury is also an expression of social injustice, as only a few can afford luxurious items at the expense of the deprived masses of people. "

Yet, IKEA Singapore's respond to the backlash was that their "aim (is) to inspire people with home decor ideas through campaigns that bring a smile and are inimitably IKEA. Our intention is to give people ideas to have their homes ready with our Raya range. We assure you that it is not our aim to offend and we value all feedback provide."

IKEA Singapore's respond shows the corporation still is not aware of how much this "Bling" ad campaign goes against the religious teachings of their intended audience.

Is this "inmitably IKEA" to promote HARAM components in an ad to give their intended audience decor ideas to have their home ready with their Raya range?

I was going through the ChurpChurp app over the weekend and these two campaigns appeared on it.

UAT stands for User Acceptance Test and probably the two was targeted at the advertisers to see how their campaign would like on the app.

It shouldn't have appeared on the end-user app but it did.

I wonder if other Churpers saw these two campaigns on their app recently.

ChurpChurp "allow members can get cash rewards for sharing brand messages, discover what people are reading or watching on the Internet, and be part of an awesome community and meet like-minded friends."

Model Manuela Arbelaez gave away a USD 21,960 car away on the game show "The Price Is Right" and the clip has become the gameshow's most viewed video in its Youtube channel.

The video clip has already generated 5 million views as of this writing.

The most popular video I can find on the "The Price Is Right" channel is the clip of the "USD7,000" iPhone 6, which was looking at 1.8 million views.

Model Manuela Arbelaez wasn't fired for her gaffe though she thought she would be.

Wrote Today,

“It was a brain fart,” said Arbelaez. “I just zoned out. I literally did not see that coming. My body took over and reacted before my brain had a chance to stop it.”
The goof brought Arbelaez to tears and sent “Price is Right” host Drew Carey into a giggle fit.
“Congratulations, Manuela just gave you a car,” Carey told the contestant.
 This gaffe probably generated more attention to the show that it ever had.

In Singapore, with high import tariffs and COE, the sponsor would probably ask the show producers to make full payment for the car.

Two of Singapore top banks are in a vanity battle of who has the most number of Facebook likes that ironically have little or no effect on their bottom line.

Yet, OCBC Singapore and DBS Bank decided it is worth fight over at Marketing Interactive.

Wrote Rezwana Manjur of Marketing Interactive,

"OCBC Bank’s claim that it is the leading social media bank in Singapore has sparked retaliation from arch rival DBS....

... In reaction to OCBC’s claims, Edna Koh, senior vice president, group strategic marketing & communications, DBS Bank has refuted the claims and told Marketing that in 2010, DBS was the first Asian bank in Singapore to adopt a regional corporate Facebook page which now has over 590,000 fans across its 12 Facebook pages established for different audiences...."

If you were to ask either OCBC or DBS Bank how much of these likes or fans are actually account holders of the respective bank, you are more likely to get a blank check than a definite answer.

For the bank to claim the throne, there most be more tangible results of their social media efforts and how it affects the banks' bottom line.

Maybe in future, if you like either bank's page, you could get an extra interest rate point in your saving accounts or even no annual fees on your credit cards.

But the social media teams need to brainstorm to find creative ways to link social media activities and the banks' bottom line.

That will be worth the spat!

GrabTaxi has stolen ComfortDelgro Taxi's booking thunder since the app came into Singapore around April 2014. Comfort Taxi has launched a new app and will make this new app the de factor app by early March 2015.

Can a new design alone help ComfortDelgro Taxi kick GrabTaxi off its pedestal and regain its number one spot?

Comfort Taxi new app, ComfortDelgro Taxi Booking App, has a major design improvement from its predecessor. After you signed in, you will see the skyline of the Marina Bay area with different positions of the sun to show the various time of the day.

Though the booking feature is quite standard, it is an improvement from the previous design.

If you do decide to cancel, there is an option to feedback to ComfortDelgro the reason for the cancellation.

The new ComforDelgro Taxi app also has a menu button to select several options and the one that I liked most is the e-receipt option.

This eReceipt breaks down the various components of the taxi fare and you can email it to keep a permanent record of it. This is directly linked from the meter and as such only ComfortDelgro Taxi will have direct access to this.

I have received emails from GrabTaxi before but it doesn't break fare and can only give an estimate of the fare.

The new ComfortDelgro Taxi app is indeed a well done refresh to its previous app, which looked liked it was stuck in the 2000s with the advent of the smartphones. However, GrabTaxi has done more to disrupt the taxi booking scene that it will take more than just a new design to topple it.

From my discussions with taxi drivers using GrabTaxi, there are more benefits to using GrabTaxi than to get a booking from ComfortDelgro.

One of the benefits is that GrabTaxi charges a lower booking fee to taxi drivers than ComfortDelgro. Each booking from GrabTaxi costs the taxi driver about $0.20 while a booking from ComfortDelgro costs $0.30 with the 7% GST.  7% adds 2 cents to the total booking cost but a difference of $0.12 per booking will push drivers to use GrabTaxi.

Halio costs taxi driver $0.40 per booking and you can see why taxi drivers are not using this app.

GrabTaxi also has a "rewards" programs for drivers where a certain number of bookings a month qualifies the taxi driver for a reward, ranging from free credits to even mobile devices and tablets. Such "rewards" program was said to be non-existent with ComfortDelgro.

However, the race to be the number one Taxi Booking app will benefit both consumer and the drivers. Without the entry of GrabTaxi or the other taxi booking apps, ComfortDelgro would have continue to rest on it laurels and kept its year 2000ish app entering into the second decade of 2000.

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