Ads appeared everywhere with a provoking quote and no brand stated. Here’s how RTL CBS Asia got the public’s attention with this guerrilla campaign.

An integrated campaign – print, online, OOH and on-the-ground – was created to generate buzz and interest for House of Cards in Singapore. To cut through the media “clutter” in an efficient and creative way, a provocative quote from the show was used with the aim of striking a chord with people and creating a talking point before actually revealing the purpose of the campaign.

During the teaser phase, the powerful quote “Democracy is so overrated” from House of Cards fronted the campaign without revealing the name of the show. The quote was paired with the hashtag #Diso528 (signifying “Democracy is so overrated”) and the show’s premiere date 28 May to create social media buzz.

The public picked up on the powerful, thought-provoking ads which they saw during the teaser phase and posted on their personal social media accounts with the hashtag #Diso528. Editors from major blogs and magazines, as well as influential personalities from the industry, posted on their digital platforms regarding this “enigmatic ad” (to borrow the description by Marketing Magazine).

An on-the-ground activation saw sharply dressed men distributing flyers in high-traffic areas during the teaser phase, rallying support by saying: “The face of politics is about to change. Will you support us?” The same group of men distributed show flyers during the reveal phase.

There was a lot of speculation generated – from whether there were elections coming; if there was a formation of a new political party; to questions as to if it was “government propaganda”; or if Kevin Spacey was visiting Singapore (for those who did some research into the quote and linked it to the House of Cards).

The title of the promotional asset – House of Cards – was revealed on 22 May on various media across the country. Hashtag #Diso528 and the quote, “Democracy is so overrated”, were kept on all collateral to ensure continuity across the campaign’s phases. On the show, the lead character Francis Underwood, played by Spacey, delivers crisp, insightful and often biting one-liners that resonate with viewers. This campaign was anchored on one chosen quote, “Democracy is so overrated”.

This resonated in the market, albeit controversially. The teaser campaign visuals were kept clean: in black, white and grey, making it more dramatic. The quote was then retained in the full-colour reveal campaign material to ensure continuity.

The campaign ran on print, OOH, and online plus direct mail and on-the-ground activations from 18 May to 16 July. Campaign paraphernalia (shirts, pins, flyers) were sent to prominent personalities and writers from a non-disclosed sender. Their interest was evidenced by posts on social media accounts and websites.

Catalyst was the creative agency and PHD was the media agency behind it.


To drum up publicity for the show House of Cards.


Ads with a provocative statement based on the lead character Francis Underwood’s quote: “Democracy is so overrated”.


A 70% success rate in terms of influencer posts.



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