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Singapore media agencies tread carefully with ambient media after ‘sticker lady’ conviction

No go? picture credit: Stomp

Out of bounds? Pic credit: Straits Times

Media agencies in Singapore are treading carefully around a medium that is proving controversial in the squeaky clean citystate – stickers.

Last week, a political satirist dubbed the ‘Sticker Lady’ was sentenced to three months of community service for placing stickers in public places, a verdict that was widely seen as harsh among the general public.

But public sympathy for the sticker lady is not tempting media agencies to overstep the legal boundaries with ambient media in Singapore, despite their potential power as a tactical advertising medium.

Brands placing stickers in Singapore is allowed, but only in certain places and with a permit.

Sony Wong, Singapore CEO of Omnicom Media Group, which has FedEx, Meritus Hotels & Resorts, Eu Yan Sang and Cerebos on its local client list, told Mumbrella that his agency will only use the medium legally, and is concerned that consumers will see stickers as a “nuisance”.

“Stickers are a good tactical platform, but only if done tastefully, respectfully and legally,” he said. “They serve a purpose as a catalyst or a reminder for a call-to-action.”

“The sticker platform becomes a sticky issue when it is used in a way that it annoys people or is perceived as a nuisance,” he said.

Melvin Lim, CEO of Havas Media Group Singapore told Mumbrella: “As a media agency, we believe that any platform that allows us to place our client’s message in front of consumers should be evaluated for a campaign.”

“However, pasting on public property is prohibited and hence not worth risking in any manner,” he said.

Fiona Bartholomeusz, the MD of integrated agency Formul8, said that there needs to be some observance of what form and how far “creative expression” can be taken in Singapore.

“I don’t think we’d eventually like our cars or homes plastered to be plastered with messages, ‘creative’ or otherwise. Eventually someone will call taking a leak on the MRT as ‘performing art’. Where then does it stop?” she wondered.

A post on popular Straits Times gossip website Stomp today suggest that local brands using stickers to promote themselves on public housing buildings should be punished in the same way as the sticker lady.

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