Monday 22 January 2018

Out of reach: I've never heard of these influencers MOF paid to promote the Budget

What’s the big deal?

So what if MOF paid social media influencers for mentions?

Why is this news?

Restaurants do this all the time.

I went to MOF My Izakaya in Lot One Shoppers’ Mall in Choa Chu Kang a few years ago.

It was okay, I guess. I’m just not into Japanese food.


What do you mean MOF doesn’t stand for Ministry Of Food?

Did the recent cold weather freeze your brain permanently?

Let me show you. M stands for Ministry. O stands for Of. F stands for Food.

Hence and therefore, MOF stands for Ministry Of Food.

What? MOF stands for Ministry of Finance?

Does it have an outlet in Lot One?

Wait, you mean Ministry of Finance, the actual ministry?

Since when did the Ministry of Finance get into the F&B business?

The Ministry of Finance wasn’t promoting a restaurant but the Budget?

The Singapore Budget?

Why would the Budget need promoting? It’s a Budget. Not a Jack Neo movie.

Though the Budget may have more entertainment value.

I just checked the Singapore Budget website.

There’s even a Budget 2018 logo with this overbaked design write-up:
“The warm shade of salmon pink represents our pursuit of a caring and inclusive society, where Singaporeans are free to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

“The four hearts come together to form the logo that symbolises a united Singapore, undivided by our differences and bonded by a common determination to overcome challenges ahead.

“The family at the centre reminds us that our families and friends will always be at the heart of what we do, no matter how far we progress as a nation.”
I think Budget 2018 may have too much budget.

What next? A Funko Pop figure of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat?

Influencers could just be the beginning.

According to The Straits Times article:
“In an effort to reach out to younger Singaporeans, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) has paid for over 50 social media ‘influencers’ to post on Instagram to promote the Budget process.”
Notice the subtle shade ST threw on the influencers by putting quote marks around the word “influencers”. Burn!

The ST report continued:
“At least 30 posts by these young social media users have popped up since December last year, asking viewers to visit the Budget website to learn more about the Budget, or to share their feedback with government feedback unit Reach on its website and at its physical ‘listening posts’ this month.”

Ohhh, so it’s not to promote the Budget per se, but to get younger Singaporeans to participate in the Budget process. Now I understand.

Did MOF get local social media stars like Xiaxue and Mr Brown?

No, MOF got such influencers as Shanel Lim, Chelsea Teng and Royce Lee.

In preparation for Budget 2018, REACH has organised Pre-Budget 2018 Listening Points across Singapore. These Listening Points are easily accessible, open booths for Singaporeans to give their views in person πŸ™‹πŸ»‍♂️ Do join me at today’s Listening Point from now till 2.00pm at the covered area close to the Multi-Purpose Hall at Tanjong Pagar Complex - loving the heritage feels and free ice cream heh πŸ˜‚ Alternatively, you may visit the last Listening Point on this Friday 12 January, at SMU (near Koufu Foodcourt), from 11.30am to 2pm. You may also provide your feedback via the REACH Budget 2018 microsite, (check out the link in my bio) until 12th Jan. Go on to let your voice be heard :)) #royceshares #sponsored #sgbudget2018 #mofsg #reachsingapore #mofsgxstarngage
A post shared by #emceeroyce (@theroycelee) on

Who the hell are Shanel Lim, Chelsea Teng and Royce Lee?

The reason I’ve never heard of them is probably the same reason MOF chose them — I’m not one of the younger Singaporeans MOF wants to reach.

I’m too old.

Talk about ageism.

Doesn’t MOF want not-so-young Singaporeans to participate in the Budget process too?

What has MOF done to reach middle-aged taxpayers like me?

Was there a TV commercial? I don’t know. Millennials aren’t the only ones who stopped watching television on television, if you know what I mean.

Ironically, it’s the debate over the effectiveness of MOF using influencers to promote the Budget that made an old fart like me aware that the Government wants feedback for the Budget.

So whatever amount MOF paid the “influencers”, the ministry certainly got its money’s worth in terms of publicity.

It even makes me feel like Japanese food for lunch.


- Published in The New Paper, 22 January 2018