Here’s to Dad, wherever he may be

June 20, 2013

To be authentic, it’s not just what you say you believe in but what you do that really matters.

Here’s a tribute to a brand that lives its values – and reaches out to people and places where few brands will go.

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In Asian culture, Father’s Day is often celebrated with little fanfare – perhaps befitting the strong, silent man of the house. For its long-running campaign, Project Family Time, StarHub wanted to bring families together – especially in the hardest of places where it means the most to be a family.

They’ve been away for months, sometimes for years. Many have not been there to see their kids grow up. Yet, dads in prison are exactly like every other dad, especially in one respect: They long for family time.

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Through Project Family Time, we organised a Father’s Day dinner for inmate dads and their families, right at the prison itself.

The dinner was planned as a surprise. Inmate dads who thought they were being led back to their cells were instead ushered to a dining hall. And when the cold, metal doors of the dining hall slid open, the unsuspecting dads were greeted with cries of “Happy Father’s Day!” from their waiting families.

Smiles broke out on the faces of even the most stoic fathers, while others ran to hug their tearful children and spouses. Loved ones who for years could only meet through the institutional barrier of a glass panel finally got to hold each other in their arms, like regular families.

There was not a single dry eye in the hall.

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Through a simple dinner, we brought the ordinary joys most of us take for granted to those facing extraordinary circumstances. And celebrated the power of family through the simplest of family gestures: having a meal together for Father’s Day.

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Local dailies like The Straits Times, The New Paper and LianHeZaoBao, plus home news sites like STOMP, AsiaOne and dailysingapore.com covered the story extensively. Online mavens and blogs like The Online Citizen, ieatishootipost and SengKang Babies also shared the story with their huge fan base. In total there were over 43,000 views of the video.

Best of all, a daughter of an inmate wrote in to say, “Thank you for helping me believe in my father again…”

Here’s to Family Time. Here’s to an authentic brand that lives its beliefs.

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