Opinion

Content marketers on the virtues and vices of video blogger ‘Famous Amos’

Amos YeeAmos Yee, a Singaporean video blogger who posted a sweary anti-obituary to the late prime minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew last week, was arrested today on religious defamation grounds for a eight-minute rant in which Yee compared Lee to Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and, the figure whose mention upset most people, Jesus Christ. The video was widely deplored in Singapore with many calling for him to be thrown in jail.

But, even among those who decried the video titled “Lee Kuan Yew is Finally Dead!” as offensive and inappropriate in the week after LKY’s funeral in a country still in mourning, were some who pointed out that “Famous Amos” was articulate, even compelling, in his delivery and showed “chutzpah” often lacking in the Singapore blogging scene.

Is it conceivable, assuming Yee can stay out of jail, that the 16 year-old could ever make it as a video blogger in Singapore or elsewhere? And would any brands consider backing him, seeing as his posts are likely to find an audience? Or is he, like so many bloggers in Singapore, just an attention-seeking teen who is asking for trouble?

We asked a handful of content marketers in Singapore what they think.

Singapore-based freelance writer and producer

To be fair to him, he cut a video with graphics on a highly sensitive political issue that got a lot of people talking. The message might have been a bit hysterical and riddled with expletives, but that is not such a bad thing in a city that chokes on its own jargon.

While a lot of Singaporeans are appalled by the video, there are many who are impressed by his chutzpah.

Mark Ingrouille, EVP, international operations, Thoughtful Media

If Amos Yee is guilty of any crime, it’s one of naivety. He undermines his valid (and often true) points by using unnecessarily expletive-laden language and inappropriate analogies. Most of this forgivable. But I found myself questioning whether he was trying to be purposefully provocative or genuinely angry. Either way it weakens his hypothesis. A shame really, as he has talent as a vlogger. Were he to come to us he would undergo a training programme we have developed for our video stars. And therefore know to avoid the pitfalls in his message.

Local agency MD

I actually think he’s more articulate than most MPs. And he’s a kid, for God’s sake. Dumb, impetuous and stupid to a degree, but I was impressed with his vocabulary, he was entertaining and considering how people are now still talking about him… Also, he reminds me of Jim Parsons; nerdy but funny.

Nick Fawbert, MD, Brand New Media

Choosing great talent’s a key component of content marketing in a long list the includes content ideation and creation, publication, distribution, amplification, optimisation and activation. Established and popular bloggers don’t just bring authenticity and personality, they often bring substantial audiences and advocacy networks.

But just as brand partnership reflects on celebrities, celebrities bring a set of values to a brand. I’d be hard pushed to think of a brand that would want to take on the somewhat snide baggage that came with Famous Amos.

Even if we could find one that did – perhaps an ‘alternative’ media brand – I’d be breaking into a cold sweat worrying about what crazy stunt he may pull next as part of an escalating personal campaign for media glory. He seems like the kind of guy who would steal food from your grannie just for the lulz.

Neal Moore, co-founder and CEO, Click2View

The guy has guts but went way overboard. Completely offensive in so many ways, insulting in so many others. Obviously he’s smart and opinionated but at the moment we wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole.

Henry Adams, founder, Contented

No, I wouldn’t employ Amos at the moment. He’s eloquent, articulate, has an impressive vocabulary and made a couple of points well. However, the gratuitously offensive language, tone and ‘shock jock’ tactics scream classic teenage ‘Look at me, look at me!’ and there’s no sense that he even genuinely believes his own diatribe. Rather, that his only genuine belief is in his inalienable right to 15 minutes of fame.

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