Singapore’s “Star Awards 2023” recently announced the list of nominees for the “Top 10 Most Popular Artists” award, with a total of 39 male and 36 female artists competing for the popularity award, making the competition even more intense than in previous years.
Local veteran artist Marcus Chin, who used the campaign strategy of “vote and get grilled fish” to successfully enter the “Top 10” last year, is vying for his third “Top 10” award this year.
The 69-year-old entertainer, co-owner of the restaurant chain Tian Tian You Yu, offered free grilled fish worth $46.80 to the public in 2022 in exchange for their votes. This was said to have helped him win the award for the second year in a row.
This year, at the 9 April ceremony, Marcus Chin hopes to win the award for the third time with the “new tactic” — by giving away package tours.
To participate in the lucky draw, fans need to vote for Chin ten times a day, which is the maximum number of online votes allowed per person. They must send screenshots of their votes to a mobile number as proof.
“I hope that if you vote for me, I will have the opportunity to enter the top 10 most popular male artists. You can vote for me up to ten times a day.”
Mr Chin revealed that the lucky draw will give away two grand prizes, the first package tour is a seven-day-five-night trip to South Korea valued at approximately $4,000.
The second package tour is an eight-day-seven-night trip to Shanghai and the Jiangnan region valued at $2,500. Both tours are for two people and are sponsored by Webuy, a local travel company.
Additionally, Mr Chin is offering a $100 dining voucher at Tian Tian You Yu to each of the two winners.
When interviewed by local Chinese media 8world Entertainment and Lifestyle, Mr Chin explained that he needs to go all out to campaign for himself because there are 39 male artists on the “Top 10” nominee list this year.
He thanked the support of sponsors so he was able to offer such a generous prize.
Regardless of whether he can successfully win the “Top 10” award or not, Mr Chin said the lavish travel prizes will still be given to his supportive viewers.
“I only have 50% confidence because viewers can vote up to 10 times a day this year, and only my hardcore fans will vote for me 10 times a day. Those who like me may not necessarily be my hardcore fans, so they may vote for other artists, which will dilute my votes.”
Netizens questioned Marcus Chin’s tactic to garner votes
However, some people may have perceived Mr Chin’s marketing stunt to gain votes for himself in the contest as questionable, as this could be a form of ‘vote-buying’, which can be seen as unfair to other artists who are relying on their popularity alone.
A reader wrote to the local media, Lianhe Zaobao, questioning why Mediacorp did not stop the artist from “openly buying votes”?
“This award is for “most popular artist,” not a competition of who has the most money. Isn’t it unsportsmanlike to win in such a way? Don’t they feel guilty?”
When commenting on 8world Entertainment and Lifestyle’s Facebook post, a netizen said:
“If an artist is popular, there will still be people supporting them even without a lucky draw or prizes. If supporters are only voting for you because of the prizes, then it’s not genuine support and care for you. Winning this award would be meaningless. It feels like ‘buying’ an award. As a veteran artist, there’s no need to be afraid of not having enough support.”
Another netizen speculated that Marcus Chin, who is no longer young, is eager to enter the top 10 and be named a “superstar”: “He’s not young anymore and is eager to make it to the top 10 and become a ‘superstar’.”
A netizen commented: “It’s really a pitiful thing, why bother? If you are a good actor, even if you don’t win an award, there will still be people who support you. If the votes are ‘bought’, winning the award is not honourable.”
“Victory without honour,” wrote another.
Derrick Tham, Singapore’s songwriter sarcastically commented: “should give away Rolex!”
A netizen commented on The Straits Time’s Facebook post and questioned if the buying of votes should be allowed, expressing concerns about the lack of rules and regulations at MediaCorp.
Regardless, there are supporters who have voted for Marcus Chin and have taken screenshots of their votes as proof. They have posted these screenshots on Mr Chin’s Facebook post.