Rebecca Lim’s “Retirement”

Yesterday, Singaporean actress Rebecca Lim posted on her Facebook page “I’m all set and I’m retiring.”. The post generated a great amount of interest with over 4,000 likes, 222 shares, and many fans commenting their well wishes for her future.

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However, last evening, she posted again on her page with a video with details about her “retirement” – which actually turned out to be just a mention of how she signed a retirement savings plan with NTUC income. Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 1.04.11 PM.png

While this post received less than half the number of likes compared to her first post, it was shared a whopping 639 times with 400 comments – which were mostly negative, chiding her and NTUC Income for what seems to be an overdone marketing ploy.

The tone of comments and remarks for Rebecca Lim went from generally positive to overwhelmingly negative within a single day. But, it did bring about attention to NTUC Income and the more or less good intention of getting Singaporeans to plan for their future.

Could it be a successful social media strategy albeit the negative feelings felt by fans and followers who were truly saddened by her news of retirement?

Watch the video here:




3 responses to “Rebecca Lim’s “Retirement””

  1. Hi Sang Hee,

    Thanks for sharing this!

    There are a few considerations here. Firstly, did NTUC Income consider other forms of promotion before deciding on this strategy, and more importantly, why celebrity endorsement? Secondly, did the company anticipate the negative sentiments that have emerged since, and if they did, would they have chosen a different strategy? As you pointed out, bad publicity could be better than no publicity. Now, at least more Singaporeans are aware of NTUC Income’s products and services. However, I’m still puzzled as to why the company chose this strategy, considering how this is not the first publicity stunt involving an insurance company. According to Straits Times, “In 2011, a campaign by one such company involved a “couple” where the man was abruptly “killed” and hence needed insurance. The stunt was slammed by fans, saying it was in bad taste.” ( If NTUC Income did anticipate the backlash, the question is, why did they still choose to proceed with this strategy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sang Hee!
      I think this kind of marketing tactic is shallow and cheap.
      They want to garner attention in any way, even by creating noise and negativity toward the brand. But, in my opinion, the problem is there is not much for NTUC to gain but much to lose. NTUC Income’s service plan will be engraved with negative image among her fans and followers who are fooled by this media play.
      To attract viewers’ attention they would like to use the “native advertising” tactic, which means the marketing piece was constructed as actual “news” about celebrity. But when they try to turn the attention of those people hooked by the news to promotion of the product, those people’s sentiments would turn from positive to negative. Problem is that in this marketing tactic they never create any positive and plausible link between people’s attention to the actress and her retirement news and the value of the retirement plan they intend to promote. They seem obsessed with viral only, for viral’s sake. This is a pathetic example of misuse of viral’s power via huge social media followings for celebrities.


    2. Very insightful question about this happening, Clara.. Probably it might have something to do with their KPI. Maybe they hired external agency or in-house communication managers… (I am guessing they might have hired social media consultancy… and they think themselves as having zero knowledge about what should be done to create viral… and this reliance (or lack of confidence in dealing with the media) on external parties often tends to result in provocative viral campaigns and overkill for short-term growing)…. probably they should check if their KPIs have been set in a right or wrong way (for example, they will be evaluated merely based on traffic volume or media exposures created by the project… )
      We’ve witnessed a lot of companies continued to miss the boat. They earned traffic and attention but it might not be sustainable, and might even be risky in the long run…


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