Get Your Free Birthday Cake...~


Status
Not open for further replies.

tecrec

New Member
Aug 13, 2004
296
0
0
Westie
#1
Extracted from: http://kitchentigress.blogspot.com/2010/01/ocbcs-birthday-cake.html

Yesterday, I went to OCBC Bank, the one at Marine Parade, and asked for a birthday cake. According to the bank's advertisement, their customers get a cake on their birthday, complete with burning candles and a birthday song. And yes, it was my birthday yesterday. If you haven't already seen the TV ad, here it is:

There were five ladies wo-manning the counter at OCBC. The one who got the short straw was xx Ming. Young, quite cute and quite sweet. Unfortunately, she was wearing a red and white polo shirt with four different coloured buttons, in thick polyester. Hm, OCBC probably paid a lot of money for some consultant to come up with the hideous design. I gave xx Ming my IC - that's identity card to those not familiar with the Big Brother state - which has my DOB on the front. She went about quietly processing my cash deposit. Was she alerting her colleagues it was my birthday with a secret 'birthday button' underneath the counter? The one beside the panic button for bank robbers? Please don't press the wrong button! I was sure someone was lighting the candles on my cake as I waited, and all the staff were getting ready to shout, 'SURPRISE!' Something like this:

xx Ming looked up and asked me if I wanted to update my address. 'No, thank you.' I had deliberately given OCBC a non-existent address because it's the only way to stop the bank from sending me bits of paper every month. I can't opt out of hard copy statements but if they're returned to the bank three months in a row, they're suspended. A roundabout way to outwit the system and the tree murderers who run it.

After making sure I didn't want my address updated, xx Ming handed me my receipt and IC. I glanced to the left . . . . No one jumped out with a cake topped with burning candles. I glanced to the right . . . . No one started singing 'Happy Birthday to yooou . . . !' xx Ming gave me a weak smile and a is-there-anything-else look. 'Er, it's my birthday today. Do I get a birthday cake?' Since the subtle way wasn't working, I had to be explicit about my real purpose for visiting the bank. xx Ming blinked, then blinked again. She turned to her colleague on her right and said, 'It's her birthday. She wants a birthday cake.' Then, she turned to her colleague on her left and said, 'It's her birthday. She wants a birthday cake.' The three ladies smiled and looked at one another, probably thinking I was joking. And probably hoping their smiles would make me go away. Wrong! 'OCBC has an ad that says customers get birthday cakes. You know the ad?' 'But it's just an advertisement,' xx Ming said. 'Yes, it's an ad, which I take very seriously.' 'But it's just an advertisement . . . .'

When it was clear I was dead serious about getting a cake, one of the teller ladies got up to consult her supervisor. Of course, such an important person wasn't sitting at the counter. He was hidden from customers' view by a door with a high-tech digital lock. Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . . 'Have other customers asked for birthday cakes before?' 'No, you're the first one!' Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . . 'A "Happy Birthday" would be nice, you know?' All I got was a blank look, and 'But it's just an advertisement.' xx Ming was starting to sound like a broken record ipod. Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . . 'Er, I have a birthday dinner to go to. I hope I can get the cake quickly?' 'I can't guarantee that.' 'You can't guarantee I would get a cake, or you can't guarantee I would get a cake quickly?' 'Both.' 'Then why do you advertise that you give customers birthday cakes?' 'But it's just an advertisement.' Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . . I was thinking no one was ever going to say 'Happy Birthday' but the lady on the right finally did. She got off her butt, walked over and wished me 'Happy Birthday'. It took her, like, 10 minutes but hey, it was better than nothing. Did Miss Cutey xx Ming who was sitting right in front of me join in and wish me 'Happy Birthday'. Hell, no! Maybe she wasn't in a good mood 'cause she was working on a Sunday? Well, I wasn't feeling jubilant either, unlike Mrs Tan, the one in the TV ad, who got a birthday cake without asking:

After an eternity, the bank teller lady who went off to consult her supervisor emerged from the internal bowels of the bank. 'We don't have any cake . . . . It's just an advertisement . . . .' 'If you don't give customers birthday cakes, why do you advertise that you do?' She went back to her supervisor. Tick, tock, tick, tock . . . . After another eternity, she came back, this time with a bright yellow shopping bag. Would I like the shopping bag instead? 'That's not a cake,' I said. NO CAKE! NO CANDLE! NO GOOD! She disappeared behind the door again.

After yet another eternity, the supervisor, xx Keong, joined me on my side of the counter. Would I like to discuss the matter with him in a separate room? 'Why? Is there a birthday cake with a candle in the room? No? Then we can discuss here. Your advertisement says customers get birthday cakes, so I'm here to collect my birthday cake.' 'Yes, but in the advertisement, the bank surprises the customer, not the other way round! You're not supposed to surprise us!' Heheh, he had a point there. 'If there's any sincerity in the advertisement, you wouldn't be surprised,' I retorted. 'The point in the ad is that the bank gives the customer a surprise. If I give you a cake now, you wouldn't be surprised,' he returned. I almost burst out laughing. 'If you give me a cake now, I promise I'll be verysurprised.' For the next few minutes, he tried to wriggle his way out of giving me a cake. 'It's just an advertisement blah blah blah. . . .' I can't remember everything he said but there wasn't anything that convinced me I should leave without a cake. After all, the ad didn't have conditions like 'while stocks last' or 'offer expires whenever'. I thought I had to lie down on the floor and kick my legs in the air. Boy, that would be fun, wouldn't it? But before I could do that, he caved in and said, 'Ok, I don't have a cake now but I can go and buy you a cake.' Of course, when he said 'I', he meant one of his female underlings. It took another eternity for a bank teller to get the cake from a bakery round the corner.

In total, it took me five eternities to get the miserable three-inch cake from OCBC. It was topped with a heap of artificial cream, the kind that doesn't melt in Singapore's tropical heat and I never eat. Frankly, my homemade cakes are way better. The plastic tree and plastic Hello Kitty? Tacky tacky tacky! Not to mention the danger of a child choking on them, especially when the 'leaves' can be detached from the 'trunk'!

Getting OCBC to cough up the cake was like prying something from a dead man's cold, hard fingers. Or squeezing blood from a stone. But advertisements are so often deliberately misleading, I couldn't resist the temptation to show an advertiser that misleading ads can sometimes backfire. A taste of its own medicine, perhaps? I allowed myself to be misled into thinking that OCBC was giving customers birthday cakes. And you can do the same, too. I asked xx Keong if I could tell all my friends that they can get birthday cakes from OCBC. He said it might not be a cake but it would be 'something' if it's their customer's birthday. Well, if you're not happy with that 'something', just insist that it was a cake in the TV ad. And you can do your part for consumer rights any day of the week, except public holidays. OCBC branches are everywhere and 18 of them are opened 11am-7pm, including Saturdays and Sundays.
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
0
0
#2
I kind of agree with her in that the advertisement was a bit misleading. If it is not a cake, it could be some kind of gift for her birthday, afterall that was the message from the ad.:think:

No? :dunno:
 

Virgo

Senior Member
Dec 23, 2003
4,816
0
0
West of Singapore
www.pbase.com
#3
Pure marketing gimmick IMO. If every OCBC client go ask them for a birthday cake on their birthdays, you think they'll (or they can) entertain them? :bsmilie:
 

Jul 23, 2005
478
0
0
Singapore, West
#4
the ad indicates there is a little girl drawing and a curious staff ask her what the pic is about. this is the pre-requisite for getting the cake. and the customized service is for Mrs Tan NRIC SxxxxxxxX.

No little girl, no drawing, no curious staff, not Mrs Tan with NRIC SxxxxxxxX. forget it.
 

szeping

New Member
Jan 13, 2008
525
0
0
www.szeping.com
#5
TS, sad to hear your story... perhaps you can report this to MDA where they control the integrity of media advertisement?
 

aeskywan

New Member
Feb 13, 2007
104
1
0
#6
It's a little silly right? as in to take the ad literally? If Im to take all ads literally do we complain to Tiger beer how come Im a loyal drinker but yet I cant use my mind to make tiger beer appear like in the ad or how come I cannot turn into a robot.

Or how come I dont meet chio bu stranger in Mcdonalds who come up to me and ask me "Single?"

Ads are marketing... dont tell me we really have to take all things literally.... then 90 percent of ads will have to be taken off the air...
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
0
0
#7
Pure marketing gimmick IMO. If every OCBC client go ask them for a birthday cake on their birthdays, you think they'll (or they can) entertain them? :bsmilie:
In that case, what the ad shows doesn't has any value to the customers. It's meaningless to link it with somebody's birthday, and staffs celebrating.

So, the ad is a failure. :think:
 

Virgo

Senior Member
Dec 23, 2003
4,816
0
0
West of Singapore
www.pbase.com
#8
In that case, what the ad shows doesn't has any value to the customers. It's meaningless to link it with somebody's birthday, and staffs celebrating.

So, the ad is a failure. :think:
It does carry something that they want to bring across IMO. It's the customer service that they're emphasizing. It shows that they care for their customers, can even remember their birthdays and will go that extra mile to give them surprises on their birthdays, blah, blah, blah.

However, in real life, whether they really do these things according to their ad, it's still a big question mark. :think:
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
0
0
#9
It does carry something that they want to bring across IMO. It's the customer service that they're emphasizing. It shows that they care for their customers, can even remember their birthdays and will go that extra mile to give them surprises on their birthdays, blah, blah, blah.

However, in real life, whether they really do these things according to their ad, it's still a big question mark. :think:

The blogger has proved the ad wrong, and the bank wrong; Staff do not give a damn even if they knew it was your birthday. :bsmilie:
 

GDSNP

New Member
Dec 17, 2003
513
0
0
39
Australia
www.flickr.com
#10
Come on lah.. Spare the poor teller lor.. The blogger is picking on OCBC just because it's a bank, an evil capitalist institution that sucks money from the working class. If she is genuinely concerned, she should also go bang on Carlsberg table and demand a lot of chio bus lor..
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
0
0
#11
Luckily she just picked on one ad. :bsmilie: I guess she was just having fun, to see the reaction of the bank.

But she does have a point. Why pick a birthday theme for the ads when there are more viable ones that are directly linked to customer service?
 

ed9119

Moderator
Staff member
Mar 11, 2002
11,014
39
48
56
Singapore
www.walkeast.com
#12
this blogger should get a life :thumbsd:

1. kicking up a fuss over a free birthday cake..... spoiling his own mood on his birthday
2. taking it out on the front line staff over a marketing goof up at marketing level
3. in the end, the supervisor probably paid out of his own pocket to get the cake........ blogger still belittle its size and how lousy it is
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
0
0
#13
I don't know if the OCBC gentleman paid for the cake out of his own pocket but I've asked David Conner and Andrew Lee, respectively OCBC's group CEO and Senior EVP of Global Consumer Financial Services, to make sure he's reimbursed.
The blogger has updated the above. More at his blog.
 

tecrec

New Member
Aug 13, 2004
296
0
0
Westie
#15
aw, c'mon, take it with a pinch of salt.. its ppl like them who break the norm and make others think at a new level.
 

johnlim

New Member
Feb 26, 2004
554
0
0
#16
Bloggers will not servive if they are not attention seeker in the first place.

Why would they bother to blog about themselves? :think:
 

drakon09

New Member
Aug 12, 2005
3,877
0
0
#18
The question I would like to ask is:

Didn't anyone at OCBC anticipate that somebody out there would punk them for a birthday cake???

:angel:
 

Jul 5, 2007
1,199
0
0
AMK
#19
Well, the staffs on duty at Marine Parade branch get work credits from the limelight, except short straw. :bsmilie:
 

Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom