Creative Weekly: Pablo’s Kitchen’s Branding Controversy, Singapore Airline's Concorde and the Viral SBS Bus Seat-Chair
In this creative weekly, we take a look at Pablo’s Kitchen’s branding controversy, Singapore Airline’s Concorde days and the viral SBS seat-chair.
Pablo’s Kitchen’s Prickly Pitch
A drug lord-themed eatery came under fire for supposedly glorifying narcoterrorism. Pablo’s Kitchen, which sells nasi lemak and burgers, has an on-point branding game - diners can enjoy “Kingpin” burgers and “Wingman” wings (duh) in the cozy outfit tucked under a HDB block in Queenstown. Pablo’s mural adorns the eatery interior. As reported by 8 Days, the kitchen also features a metal cage which is supposed to represent Pablo’s prison cell.
The eatery’s three owners are fans of the Netflix series Narcos, a biopic of Pablo Escobar, which inspired the “memorable and in your face” branding, in their words. Unfortunately, some netizens who identified themselves as Columbians did not appreciate the concept and criticised them on Instagram for promoting Pablo’s murder crimes and trivialising the sufferings of his victims.
The eatery has now decided to change their visual concept just two months after their launch to “prevent misunderstandings”. The owners explained that their logo was created in the likeness of Javier Pena in Nacros, the enforcement agent who brought Pablo to justice.
If you think this story is a case of deja vu, you are right. In 2018, a bar called Escobar (Pablo’s surname) received a strongly worded letter from the Colombian embassy which said that Columbia cannot “tolerate any more tributes to that criminal”. This prompted the bar to remove its logo - a silhouette of Pablo’s face, only leaving the wordmark to represent the bar.
It seems like Pablo’s Kitchen is making the first move to make its brand less controversial before the Columbian embassy finds out. The question is whether the revamped brand can still stand out in a crowded field of existing burger spots.
Singapore Airlines: Ahead of the Curve since the Concorde Days
The coronavirus has devastated the travel economy, but Singapore Airlines insists it can bounce back stronger than before. Amid questions of whether the national carrier is delisting, an airplane blog traced SQ’s ambitious nature back to the days of the Concorde plane, which was then touted as a breakthrough in air travel as it moved faster than the speed of sound. As SQ is an early adopter of new models, it was one of only three airlines to boast a concorde livery, albeit only on half the plane due to agreements with British Airways.
For a relatively new carrier representing a country that was barely 20 then, it did well in gaining worldwide attention for their Concorde flights. Savvy marketing established itself as a serious contender in the airspace - the global campaign called “SIA has gone supersonic” showed its desire to punch above its weight.
Although Concordes were not meant to be - noise complaints and high costs got the better of the jet - the campaign momentos remind us of a time when the world anticipated the possibilities of supersonic travel.
SBS Bus Chair will take you back to the 2000s
When vehicle scrapping firm Kim Li Huat Hardware listed $100 chairs made from SBS Bus seats on Facebook, the page tripled its follower count as the chairs became a viral sensation. The chairs made many netizens chuckle as it was weird seeing a bus seat turned into a chair with wheels and marketed as an “office or home use” chair.
Nostalgia seekers and bus enthusiasts were pleased to find out that these chairs are older than many Gen Zers, having been in use since the early 2000s.
Although the Facebook post has been archived or deleted, presumably because the chairs sold out, a Caousell listing still exists which marked the chairs as sold.
Plus: Can Shopee just stop already?
Shopee’s annoyingly catchy jingles have reached a new trough with Mark Lee’s 6.6 advertisement. Aired on primetime every day for the last few weeks, Mark Lee dances, chants, and drills into your head that annoying “shopee pee pee pee” jingle. Advertisements strive to be memorable, and e-commerce apps have been pushing out annoying tunes like these for more than a year now, often to much online buzz (remember Rolando’s dance?).
Instead of aiming for cringe content, perhaps we should take inspiration from Thai commercials, which are just as bombastic but somehow not annoying. They are memorable too, but they do not stick out in your memory like a sore thumb.
Creative Weekly is a roundup of local news stories from a design angle. Explore Singapore’s design scene with us on Facebook and Instagram.