When is too much, too much? Much ado about an SG50 fishcake

SG50 fishcakeIn a post that first appeared on Digimind’s blog, Melissa Chue suggests that brands have gone too far piggybacking Singapore’s fiftieth birthday celebrations, as this week’s SG50 fishcake saga has shown.

Another week, another SG50 campaign or product launch.

As Singapore’s 50th birthday inches closer, more and more brands are looking to cash in on the year long hype. But when does too much become too much?

On 27 July, a fishcake carved with the number “50” (to represent Singapore’s 50 years of independence) went viral, and was met with ridicule on social media. 

Online sentiment was overwhelmingly negative, with 92 per cent against it. Social media voted “No” on #SG50 Fishcakes.

Sentiment analysisSentiment analysis revealed what Singaporeans made of it.

Word cloud

Conversations centred around the product being “ridiculous”, “stupid”, and a “rip-off”. We used our social listening tool to investigate the what, why, and who of it.

Airplanes, Rolls Royces…why not fishcakes?

But wait, we hear you cry. It’s not as if other brands haven’t done it before. From airplanes and cars, to sushi and cakes, almost anything and everything has been branded with the ubiquitous SG50 flavour. So why not fishcakes?

It’s saturated.

It’s a week to National Day. Singaporeans have seen hundreds of products, promotions and advertisements get the SG50 treatment.

By now, the volume of conversations already happening around it is creating clutter more than it is stirring unique conversations about brands. Consumers, and even reviewers, are skeptical.


Everything also SG50

It’s gimmicky.

According to Don Anderson, managing director of We Are Social, consumers can tell if a brand is truly trying to create something special or just riding on a significant event. Instead of being seen as innovative, many thought of the fishcake as an attempt to up-sell something ordinary as a premium.

It’s a rip-off.

Negativity also centred around having to pay more for less, as local news site Mothership.sg put it:

SG50 fish cake

An influencer comes to the rescue

Not one to keep silent on the subject, local blogger and lifestyle influencer Xiaxue blogged in defense of the fishcake.

Xiaxue viral fish cake

SG50 fish cake

Xiaxue’s commentary initiated further conversation about the product. According to Digimind Social’s sentiment aggregator, it helped mitigate the negativity, shifting online perception of it to somewhat neutral, with negative sentiments dropping by almost half.

SG50 already

This confirms two things: influencers can sway public opinion about your brand, and consumers are more likely to spread negative perceptions of your product, campaign or service voluntarily than favourable ones (unless initiated by someone else).

But is it the only one?

No. Here are just a few SG50-inspired creations that emerged on Digmind’s social monitoring tool:

SG50 innovations

Melissa Chue is part of the marketing team at social media monitoring and competitive intelligence company Digimind.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing