Where do “beautiful and successful people meet”? If LinkedIn is your first answer, you’re way off. Sugarbook, an online dating platform for sugar babies to meet sugar daddies, have been at the centre of attention in recent days.
Their electronic billboards displayed at the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s bustling streets have been taken down by the KL City Hall. Based on Sugarbook’s blog, the two billboards were put up on 3 December 2019. The advertisements were displayed at Bangsar’s Jalan Maarof and Mont Kiara’s Jalan Dutamas.
According to founder and CEO Darren Chan, he was advised by his advertising company Out of Home, to go ahead with the advertisement. Hence, causing him to believe the necessary approvals had been acquired.
So what’s with all the fuss?
City Hall sour on Sugarbook’s billboards
According to The Malaysian Insight, Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament Fahmi Fadzil, had contacted the City Hall upon seeing one of the billboards in Bangsar. “I was told that the advertisements were removed (17 December) between 7.30pm to 10pm,” he was quoted.
Additionally, in a statement posted online, the City Hall described the billboards to be obscene and sensitive. “City Hall investigations have found the advertisement structure license belonged to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP), which appointed (an outdoor media company) Out of Home as the operator.”
“The content of the Sugarbook advertisement displayed on the LED advert structure did not obtain City Hall and YWP approval. The LED operator has been informed of the content of the advert which is sensitive against the norms of Malaysian society, and that it must immediately remove the advert,” the statement read.
Additionally, Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh questioned the Institute of Language and Literature (DBP) on its oversight in checking Sugarbook’s controversial billboard.
“How can DBP not check the content of the app before approving the text for the billboard? This syndrome of ‘I don’t know what happened to my bank account’ or ‘I don’t know what I approved’ needs to cease,” she mentioned in her Facebook post.
Meanwhile, Chan took to Sugarbook’s Facebook to respond towards the action taken by the local council.
Sugar daddies and burgers: United over the love for buns and Sugarbook
Local authorities weren’t the only ones who were riled up by Sugarbook’s bold billboards. Sugar daddies from far and wide assembled to rally over the risk of having their identities leaked to their families!
To poke fun at the scandal, satirical website The Tapir Times complied a list of ‘confessions’ from several sugar daddies. Here’s some of the best reactions:
“My daughter from my 2nd marriage, Jennifer, drives her Myvi on this road. What if she sees this Sugarbook billboard and decides she wants a taste of the lifestyle I reserve for my mistresses?” complained 54-year-old sugar daddy, Benson Yap.
“The billboards should be removed immediately before they do serious damage to Malaysian families like mine!”
“A perfect evening of cigars and mojitos at WIP with my 19-year-old girlfriend could turn very awkward if I bumped into my daughter out on a date with one of my crusty, silver-haired friends. Because of this Sugarbook billboard, she might not speak to me for weeks!”
Jumping on the buzz, MyBurgerLab decided to create a parody of the advertising campaign with a series of ‘creative’ ads.
Time will tell if Sugarbook does indeed become a success in Malaysia, but until then, let’s have a moment of silence for Benson Yap, who openly admitted his love for the app. Hope Jennifer with a Myvi lives under a rock for the time being.