Someone got a birthday cake from OCBC

Do you all remember the advertisement from OCBC where they tried to portray their warm nature and how they value each customer by noticing that the cute daughter is drawing a birthday card for mum, and then they bought a birthday cake and sang a song as a surprised for the delighted mother?

Well some blogger actually did that, all in good fun I guess, but a little too much in my opinion. You can read her story here. I did glance through the comments, and as I expected, there are supporters and there are people who criticize the blogger. I myself have some comments about this whole “prank” which I thought I’ll share on my blog rather than as a comment and risk getting flamed. I’ll try to do it in an objective manner.

I think I must at least commend the blogger on her attitude to cheekily demand a birthday cake from OCBC. I think spontaneity is something lacking in the Singapore culture, and we should all try to inject a little fun in our daily lives. This reminds me of the video where a group of people sang their orders to McDonalds via the song “I’m yours”. It is a little fun to inject in our daily monotonous lives. But..

A little overboard
I think it has gone a little overboard that it needs to take that long and that much effort to demand a birthday cake. After a while it starts to feel less fun, and getting a little draggy I would say. In fact, in my opinion, getting a birthday cake by forcing them to become desperate doesn’t seem like my idea of fun. If I were to do that, I would probably cease the “prank” and go home. There’s just not much pleasure in getting that cake anymore.

Misleading advertisement?
Some people commented that this shows that the advertisement is misleading. I think any sane people would scold you and say, “In what sense is that advertisement misleading?” But before you come to any conclusions, just finish my post first. I do not think that the advertisement is misleading, because the advertisement’s purpose was to show their warm and caring side. To show that they notice the minute details and is meticulous in their job. The advertisement was not to say “Come and join us on the Sunday Banking on your birthday. We will give you a free cake and a nice warm happy birthday song”. Hence in this case, the advertisement was not misleading. Advertisement’s purposes is to get you to understand the hidden meaning, or to portray a sense of emotion in a person. In this case, it is to portray a warm feeling, the feeling that goes “OCBC cares for me”. Not the birthday cake. Anyone automatically assuming that the advertisement is advertising about a free cake needs more education. So those people who claim misleading advertisements are seriously mentally backward.

Why mentally backward? From another perspective, we wouldn’t assume POSB tellers know each of us and our children, and when it rains they bring an umbrella to shelter our kids home, do we? We wouldn’t assume that using that cream thing on your knees would allow you to rapidly accelerate a trishaw to the same speed as a car? Or drinking Tiger Beer would allow you to become Tarzan or some strong arm person? Or a pretty girl. Maybe tiger beer would make you drunk until you feel like becoming a girl. 😀

Advertisement is ALSO misleading
Now would you scold me? I said that it is not misleading but now I said it is misleading. What kind of nonsense is this? It is misleading because OCBC staff are not warm at all! They are not meticulous because they took the I/C from the blogger and did not notice that it is her birthday! Now, a simple happy birthday would suffice and make a customer happy wasn’t it? Not to mention that they found it so hard to offer a “Happy birthday” which cost nothing and wouldn’t hurt anyone. In this way, the advertisement is misleading. They mislead the public into believing that OCBC’s staff is passionate, caring, fun, spontaneous and believes that they can do more to improve their level of service. Whether they are “delighted to be of service”, as mentioned in the ad, remains much to be seen.

Establishments only want your money
Some people commented that you shouldn’t expect anything because banks only want your money. And applauded the blogger for getting a birthday cake since they use our money. Personally I think that is stupid. Some complain about low interest rates. That’s utterly stupid. We have a right not to put our money in this bank. There’s so many other banks. Besides, all of them offer low interest rates. Look at the 3 month Treasury Bills. The rate is 0.6%. It is pathetic. Lousier than inflation. If anyone has any sense to beat inflation, we would be looking at alternative investments.

Some people complain about banks not refunding the money when the principals are lost in some funds. Well, putting aside mis-selling, if mis-selling did not occur, all of the customers would have knowledge that the principals are not guaranteed and there is investment risk. As such, they willingly took on those risks. It is utterly retarded to ask the bank to refund the money if mis-selling did not occur. There are no investments in the world that are guaranteed and have high returns. Face the fact and stop whining about it.

No matter what, banks are businesses too. You don’t run a business to lose money; you make money. Hence there are some things banks cannot do so that they can reduce their costs. If banks were to guarantee all investments, they would lose a lot of money in a recession! No matter how banks portray themselves to be, the consumers must be witty enough to understand that advertisements do not portray absolute truth.

Banks keep your money for you in a relatively safe place compared to inside your house, and you get money on top of it, although the sum is pathetic. The interest generate on loaning money out pays for your free parking of money in the bank. If we think of it as a transaction, we would have also gained. A win-win I would say.

That said, it was still a fun attempt that backfired. I quite pity the staff on the grounds because it would seem like they are facing an unreasonable customer. If it had ended earlier with a smile, the whole thing would be perfect.

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