Singapore — A seafood restaurant’s face mask marketing gimmick is making the rounds of social media.
House of Seafood restaurant in Punggol Point Road had taken advantage of the surgical face mask shortage and turned it into a marketing promotion.
On Sunday (Feb 9), the restaurant, via its Facebook page, made an exclusive offer to those who dined in the restaurant: The chance to purchase surgical face masks.
The post said: “Now just dine in House of Seafood, you can buy three-layer masks for S$ 21.40, only special for House of Seafood’s customers (one box per table only).” The restaurant’s details were also included in the post.
The regular price for a box of surgical face masks before the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak was S$7.
The post was taken down on Monday morning (Feb 10).
Some retailers have been accused of profiteering from the sale of face masks since the outbreak of the coronavirus. An advisory was released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Jan 30 to e-commerce companies such as Qoo10, Lazada and Carousell for information about potential profiteers on their platforms.
On Saturday (Feb 8), Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Louis Ng drew attention to the matter with a visit to a shop in Yishun that was selling face masks at S$138 a box or S$6.90 a piece.
House of Seafood is not new to creating bizarre and controversial marketing gimmicks. It installed the “first live crab claw machine” in Singapore last October 2019 to draw customers.
The Singapore Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) responded to videos taken by people to highlight the cruelty and condemned the gimmick. The restaurant, represented by the CEO and three of the staff, issued a public apology and bowed for 30 seconds before the media.
There was criticism online of the post, with people commenting that the marketing team of the restaurant still had not learnt its lesson.
Others commented that a better approach would have been to give customers a box of face masks free after they had spent a minimum amount. /TISG
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