McDonald’s localised food menu campaign featuring a Nasi Lemak Burger racked up the highest level of social-media buzz on Twitter and Facebook in the run up to Singapore’s 52nd birthday, according to new data released by Meltwater, a global media intelligence firm.

The campaign saw a big spike in social media conversations on launch day (13 July) with 10,136 social mentions, of which 75% were positive. Mentions of McDonald’s peaked once again towards the end of July when the burgers sold-out, eliciting 105 social mentions.

“National Day is an important time for brands to unleash ads, hoping to grab a share of consumers’ spend. From our analysis this year, it is clear that the brands that stood out positively are the ones that were celebratory, did something unique, but weren’t over-the-top patriotic,” said Mimrah Mahmood, Regional Director of Enterprise Sales, Meltwater.

Sushi chain Maki-San drew flak online for naming a sushi roll ‘Maki Kita’, a play on the lyrics of Singapore’s national anthem. Unfortunately for the sushi chain, in Malay the word ‘Maki’ means to curse or insult. The campaign drew 79 social mentions, with 38% of those negative, 43% neutral and just 19% positive. However, the furore quickly died down once the brand apologised.

“Reactions to this campaign started off quite negative, but within 7 hours Maki-San made a public apology – and that seemed to appease social media users. It also shows that responding quickly and offering a sincere apology are key to managing a company’s image,” Mahmood added.

Another campaign that divided Singapore netizens was StarHub’s diversity-themed video that featured Martin Luther King Jr’s renowned ‘I have a dream’ speech. While 37% of the sentiment was positive, 59% of social buzz was negative.

What makes Singapore our home? Some say it’s our food. Some, the way we speak. But it isn’t in these things that we truly find our sense of belonging. It’s in our unity – forged not by chance, but by choice. A choice we’ve made together, to build bridges instead of walls. Regardless of race, language or religion. So, as we celebrate Racial Harmony Day and National Day, we want to say a big thank you to Singapore, for making our home, home. #RegardlessofColour #SG4SG

Posted by StarHub on Thursday, July 20, 2017


The sharpest reactions were reserved for retailer Giordano for releasing an ad featuring a family of three Caucasians and an Asian girl. 84% of its brand mentions on social media were negative. Netizens also pointed out that the image was part of an older ad and the Singapore-themed t-shirts were the result of Photoshop.

To learn how you can gather media and social media insights like these on National Day, contact us and add valuable insights to your public relations toolbox.

A version of this post appeared in Mumbrella Asia on 11th August 2017.