Coca-Cola: thanks from the sky

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Did you look up at the sky last few weeks, and wonder about the flying objects above your roof?

They were the remote-controlled drones carrying cans of Coca Cola. Tied to the cans of Coke were 2,374 handwritten messages of ‘thank you’ by Singaporeans, to the foreign workers who build the country’s skyscrapers.

The giant drink maker and the creative team of Ogilvy and Mather Singapore came up with the bright idea of expressing gratitude towards foreign workers by delivering them Coca Cola.

The drones went up to 35-storey high skyscrapers to make the Coke delivery to the workers at work.

Eugene Cheong, chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather Asia-Pacific said the project touched on the social tension between locals and foreign workers.

“Construction workers, in particular, tend to be invisible,” he said.

“These guys are a community within a community, they are walled off … and when they work they are usually up there in these high-up places that are difficult to reach,” Cheong said.

Less than a week ago, a BBC report highlighted Singapore’s rental discrimination against foreign workers from China and India.

One Indian expat said landlords in Singapore would refuse to rent to him because “Indians always cook smelly curries.”

A real estate agent, Charlene, explained that Singapore’s landlords would prefer not to rent to tenants from India and China because such tenants “are not people who are house proud.”

The Coca Cola’s campaign reached 2500 workers who largely have come from China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. These workers make up of one third of the workforce in Singapore.

Despite claims of discrimination against foreign workers, thousands of Singaporeans wrote messages of support and appreciation for these construction workers. Volunteers from the Singapore Kindness Movement gathered these messages between March and April this year.

Michelle Tay, Associate General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement said, “With more individuals, and businesses, coming forward to become champions of kindness, we move steadily towards our vision of becoming a kinder and more gracious society.”