Brand Clapbacks that We Enjoyed

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Goosebumps, that exhilarating feeling when you have hit the jackpot, or that smugness, that moment when you think, “I have crushed it. I have created something truly brilliant.”

Early this year, when Singapore first implemented Nutri-Grade and a ban on ads for products with high sugar levels, Vitagen seized the opportunity for a trendjack. The move backfired, drawing swift criticism from netizens who found it distasteful, or pushed consumers to take the side of its competitor.

Brand clapbacks: Vitagen Singapore uploaded a Facebook album cover, throwing shade at its competitor over new ad regulations for Nutri-Grade
Brand clapbacks: People's responses to Vitagen Singapore uploading a Facebook album cover throwing shade at its competitor over new ad regulations for Nutri-Grade

Source: Vitagen Singapore Facebook

Here is the thing: with high rewards come high risks. Sometimes, that brilliance is interpreted as a friendly heat, while other times, you wound up getting burnt. Lucky? Perhaps. A stroke of genius is a fruition of experience while the prerequisite for a stroke of luck is consistency.

A Calculated Risk

From a bold and rebellious campaign to a sassy comeback, these brands managed to let their voices and personalities shine through.

Checkmate: Show me what you have

Would you buy an advertisement space for your competitor? That was what Oatly did. As greenwashing becomes increasingly prevalent, Oatly answers consumers’ call for proof of action in a striking move. Billboards. Specifically, one side declares its carbon footprint and on the other side is an open invitation to any dairy brands to take the spot for free, only if they can show their climate numbers too. Known for its guerilla approach and irreverent, tongue-in-cheek tone of voice, Oatly has done it again.

Brand clapbacks: Oatly's OOH advertising challenging competitors to take up free advertisement space, as long as they share their carbon footprint

Source: Oatly Instagram

Clapback: You can have everything but my attitude

When it came to Scoot’s attention that a doppelganger was spotted in the United States, the brand was very concerned. The proud little sister of Singapore Airlines is known for two things – functionally, a low-cost carrier and emotionally, its fun-loving personality. Instead of making things ugly, Scoot exemplified what truly sets it apart from other low-cost carriers. It began with a Facebook post, bringing this to the attention of the bigger community.

“And to show how Scootitude is being done, we prepared another message which we will send to Ben’s office in Florida if we get enough shares and likes on Facebook. We’re sure Ben would like it but it’s all in the spirit. The spirit of fun.”

From mailing a “How-to box” comprising the full identity kit to flying a blimp over Florida and Spirit Airlines’ headquarters, Scoot’s personality and wit shone. The “crisis” also turned into an opportunity. Not only was its “How-to box” sent to Spirit Airlines, but also to US media outlets, earning Scoot brand visibility in a new market. The clapback full of attitude and sass landed Scoot PR awards, won the hearts of consumers and even the applause of Spirit Airlines’ staff.

How Scoot Inspired Spirit Airlines

Staying True to Your Brand

Before you pass this off as something that only fun, quirky brands can do, take a moment to look at the underlying commonalities. These brands have proven that staying true to your brand identity is what mitigates the risk and increases the chances of success.

Resonance is key

In an industry where exorbitant price markups are the norm, DECIEM, the parent company of the renowned beauty brand, The Ordinary, has chosen a different path. Rejecting the notion that quality must come with a hefty price tag, DECIEM embraces authenticity and sensibly priced products. Celebrity-owned beauty brands are on the rise and the group stands firm, reinforcing its brand values and positioning, resonating with its target audience group which seeks authenticity and value. This was the difference between Yakult and DECIEM.

Brand clapbacks: DECIEM embracing authenticity and sensibly priced products

Source: DECIEM LinkedIn

The essence of hospitality

Dressing up its announcement for renovation, Mandarin Oriental released a social media video, showing the CEO having enlisted the help of fellow luxury hotels to take care of its guests during the interim period. The response from these hotels was nothing short of delightful camaraderie.

Fullerton, for instance, cheekily assured guests that they would experience the #FullerExperience, a playful jab accompanied by a branded hashtag.

Brand clapbacks: Mandarin Oriental's social media video showing the CEO enlisting the help of fellow luxury hotels to take care of its guests during the interim period

Shangri-La Singapore took the banter up a notch with a video expressing its joy in accommodating Mandarin Oriental’s guests. “We’re really happy to take care of your guests until your renovation is completed and you reopen. I’m pleased to say they may never leave Shangri-La and go back to the Mandarin,” says the Shangri-La CEO, before closing with a gracious, “Honestly, thank you very, very much for trusting Shangri-La.”

Brand clapbacks: Shangri-La Singapore bantering with Mandarin Oriental that they would take care of their guests until renovation is completed and when they reopen

The winning strategy

A well-executed campaign, regardless of how intensive the process was, will always seem effortless and that is because everything speaks for the brand. Know what matters: who you are and why are your consumers buying from you. There exists a fine line between trying too hard and being yourself.

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