Singapore ACG community is not receiving it well, EMERGE Esports
Bad PR and Marketing caused backlash towards a new and promising talent management agency
In the past week, there was a massive uproar in the ACG community towards a new talent management company in Singapore, EMERGE Esports.
Though both parties have yet to stand out to speak or address the incident, we were able to understand more about the situation through some research.
This article will include information from official news sources where we will be stating the facts and its sources. As this article is about the reaction of the community, we will be including the community's opinion in the article. There will be no screenshots of the comments from the community to protect their identity as we do not wish to trigger hate or anger or war towards any individual due to this incident again. At the end with our own views and thoughts.
Disclaimer: This is not an official statement from any party, it is an account of events and reactions/opinions from the ACG Community.
Do take things with a grain a salt and have your own judgments.
What is EMERGE Esports
EMERGE Esports is a talent management company. They has been taking the spotlight of many online new media with their official launch on 16th Nov 2020 (source Yahoo Singapore) They have a main focus on gaming, signing gamers, streamers, and influencers as well. People such as Black^, XIAOYUKIKO, hyhy, Yutakis, and Stylobin were all on the roster (source Emerge Esports)
A majority of the staff have worked at or currently have ties to an established Singapore-based digital marketing and public relations agency, DIFY Singapore. (source Esports Observer)
The agency, which was officially incorporated in July, has also secured more than a dozen brands to support its esports talent including Red Bull, SteelSeries, Royale Ergonomics, Embily, StashAway, Reubiks Academy, and Singaporean fruit tea brand Partea. (source Esports Observer)
While everything has been looking great for EMERGE Esports and their talents, opinions about EMERGE Esports quickly took a negative turn within the community after their marketing campaign and media releases.
EMERGE Esports' Viral Marketing Campaign
To build up buzz for its new initiative, Emerge Esports conducted a viral marketing campaign on the streets of the Orchard shopping belt in an endeavour to remind people how personal dreams are typically crushed and thrown away in pursuit of a conventional career. Real life does have a way in preventing folks from playing video games for a living, after all.
What the team did was to mobilise ‘karang gunis’ (rag-and-bone men) to reach out to passersby, get them to write down their dreams, exchange it for $2 and literally discard those dreams in the trash. You can imagine their reactions.
This action has not only brought questions to netizens, including people in the ACG Community, triggering many conversations and sharing about this article. Throwing people's dreams and wishes away is clearly offensive and demoralizing to an unexpecting bypasser.
Some people looking at the bigger picture have acknowledged the extremely effective stunt as many now have heard about EMERGE. Even though many understood the idea of ‘karang gunis’ behind this action, most still feel disgusted at the length a talent agency would go, even to insult/offend people, just to generate clout and get their names out there.
Some also pointed out that a simple twist of words could have made this clout generating poor PR to a positive PR action.
EMERGE Esports's poor representation of Talents
We do not have any official news source to back things up. But actions of EMERE Esports do prove evidence of such uproar occurring.
In many official articles online media such as Yahoo Singapore this was the initial visual used and it was the same across the board.
After the uproar, the visual has been changed to this .
Spot the difference? The title of XIAOYUKIKO has been changed from “#1 Cosplayer in Singapore” to “Renowned Singapore-based Cosplayer”. This was the trigger of the second wave of uproar.
Though it is true that XIAOYUKIKO has been the fastest growing and most popular cosplayer in Singapore with more than half a million fans on the internet, the community can all agree that the action of dubbing her as #1 in Singapore has been an extremely bad PR move.
If you couldn't understand why this was an extremely bad move, imagine an agency claiming their signed K-Pop artist is the #1 K-pop artist in Korea. Fans from other K-pop artists would of course beg to differ and trigger an "internet war".
Though understandable that EMERGE as a company from a business standpoint is trying to highlight the popularity and significance of signing XIAOYUKIKO, a simple change of words would have avoided the entire situation.
With XIAOYUKIKO being generally well-known in the ACG Community, this incident has quickly caught the eye of many and spread throughout the entire community. Articles featuring this cover photo were consistently shared and talked about throughout the past 2-3 days. As a result, the Viral Marketing Campaign (mentioned earlier) caught even more people's attention and negative comments as well.
Within the community, some are calling out EMERGE's bad way of marketing and extremely poor PR despite having a majority of staff from DIFY Singapore (an already established PR/marketing agency). While others speculate whether XIAOYUKIKO has acknowledged or even pushed for this overwhelming label of #1 Cosplayer in Singapore before it's publication onto various online media. Some even questioned was this another marketing stunt pulled off by EMERGE to trigger "internet war" so as to bring more attention to EMERGE at the sacrifice of XIAOYUKIKO’s reputation in the community.
The damage was brought to other talents in the visual as well. Some people questioned the label of Pioneer Dota 2 Player in Singapore on HYHY may be exaggerated. Others mocking BLACK^ and OHDEERBAMBI being labeled as "ex pro player" and "former captain" seeming as if they have nothing better now and only have past glorious moments to speak of.
This has led to further speculation that EMERGE has not consulted the talents prior to sending out these media release materials.
And as the internet does, such discussions, debates, speculations, general dislike towards EMERGE also brought personal attacks towards the talents mentioned and some were truly nasty.
From the change of visuals, this incident must have been brought to attention to EMERGE or their talent's awareness and EMERGE has contacted the various media sources to change the visual for damage control, but all is too late. The word is out and the damage has been done.
As a speculator in this incident and a member of the ACG community, I can feel that the entire community, despite having different speculations of the incident, all had the common consensus that EMERGE has done a terrible job in terms of PR/marketing for the company and their talents. The name EMERGE has left a bad taste for everyone in the community
While marketing and getting community notice was important. Not all attention is good attention. Famous and infamous are two different things and the first impression does mean a lot to anyone or any company. As a talent management agency, and with a majority of staff from established PR/Marketing agency DIFY Singapore, EMERGE Esports should have known better and the right way of things to establish a positive internet presence.
No matter whether the talents were aware of the marketing materials prior to its publishing, the media release clearly came from EMERGE Esports, not the talents themselves. As a talent management agency responsible for their talents, EMERGE Esports should be held responsible for these incidents no matter what.
We hope for the best for the talents mentioned and may everything resolve and subside as soon as possible. Hope this article was a good start for anyone curious to understand what happened before jumping to any conclusions.