The recent brand ambassador announcement by Shopee Philippines has caused a wide range of reactions amongst Filipinos online, with the majority turning against Shopee for tapping local celebrity Toni Gonzaga who became controversial for the role she played in the recent Presidential Elections. Although Shopee defended its decision, stating that Gonzaga was chosen for her ‘mass appeal’ and not for her ‘political views,’ consumers have been calling for a “boycott” and making a show of deleting their apps.
In light of this, MARKETECH APAC tapped social media monitoring Digimind to learn more about how the negative flak unfolded–as told by social media data–and published the findings on their own blog. (Read the original full article here.)
Firstly, Digimind found that social mentions of Shopee peaked at 286,495 on September 29, which is the day when Shopee Philippines posted the teaser video that showed Gonzaga as their new brand ambassador. However, only 0.4% of all social media mentions included the word “boycott”–although it was noted that this equated to a “sizeable volume of 4,000 netizens expressing their opinion to boycott Shopee.”
“While consumers are familiar with the concept of influencers or celebrities endorsing brands, brands now need to have a more stringent process in place when assessing each influencer’s fit for their brand or campaign. Any brand, large or small, runs the risk of facing some level of social scrutiny or backlash when announcing a public figure with uncertainty over the public might receive them,” said According to Olivier Girard, head of Digimind for APAC.
Digimind also found that even though many people expressed intent in moving to rival e-commerce platform Lazada, social media mentions of the website from September 26 to October 3 only amounted to around 145,000. Meanwhile, “Shopee” garnered around 2 million in the same time period.
Furthermore, these conversations online seemed to have originated from sellers on Shopee as well as users who have grown frustrated by the platform’s treatment of its sellers, as well as the recent news of Shopee Philippines retrenching its employees.
Sellers also announced that they will open their own online shops separate from the site as “they would not support a platform that ‘enables [political lies]’, as well as ‘unjust termination of employees’.”
As of writing, Gonzaga still stays as Shopee’s brand ambassador while “social engagement against them has diminished over time,” according to MARKETECH APAC.
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