Oh, what a blunder!
On 14th January, the newly reopened Atria Shopping Gallery launched a Chinese New Year campaign in which they invited shoppers to join in on some in-mall activities to stand a chance at winning prizes. One of the many activities planned out was “The Tree of Dreams” aka the “CNY Wishing Tree”.
To participate, shoppers are required to purchase RM50 and above in a single receipt from any store in Atria Shopping Gallery and make a Chinese New Year wish at the wishing tree located at the mall’s public concourse. Lucky participants would then stand a chance at winning RM28,888 worth of shopping vouchers and gift sets.
Perhaps the mall was a little shortsighted in terms of identifying beforehand what could go wrong with a wishing tree that offered that much freedom of speech, because some shoppers really went to town with their Chinese New Year wishes. Long story short, Atria Shopping Gallery later found that some wishes contained politically sensitive and “defamatory” messages.
As expected, this abruptly cut short Atria Shopping Gallery’s Chinese New Year campaign (it was supposed to run until 22nd February 2016) and soon after, the mall took down not just the wishes but the entire “tree” altogether.
The mall also posted up the following announcement on their Facebook page to affirm that “opinions and views expressed on the Atria Wishing Cards are the personal opinions of the persons who penned the note(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of the Atria Shopping Gallery and its Management” and that the “CNY Wishing Tree” has since been taken down:
This was met with a great deal of negative feedback from Facebook users, with some chiding Atria Shopping Gallery for being “very out of touch with the sentiments of the Malaysian public” and claiming that it “doesn’t know the true wishes of majority of its shoppers”.
On a lighter note, there was also a handful of netizens who calmly commented, “Chill, it’s just a wish. Not all wishes come true.” and “That note did make my day though.”
What do you think, guys? Do you think that Atria should’ve let “CNY Wishing Tree” be? What would you have done differently? Let us know in the comments box below.