5 Lessons Learned from the Seng Thor Coffee Shop Controversy


5 Lessons Learned from the Seng Thor Coffee Shop Controversy

If you’re not familiar with the recent controversy, here’s the condensed version:

A coffee shop in Penang faced backlash from social media users after posting a message that shamed a customer who refused to order a drink.

Many people believed that the shop would be shutting down as a result of the negative attention.

However, the owner of Seng Thor Coffee Shop, who identified himself as Mr. Lim, clarified that the Facebook account which announced the closure was fake.

In reality, he had simply closed the shop’s Facebook page after the contentious post drew angry reactions.

The coffee shop will remain open the next day.

1. Digital Business Verification

If you have a brick-and-mortar or physical shop for your business, it’s important to create and verify your Google My Business account. Doing so can help prevent unauthorized edits or takeovers of your business entity, such as your business name on Google.

As an example, consider the recent incident where angry netizens were able to edit the name of a coffee shop without any restrictions. The shop’s name was changed to include a few words at the end (Shui Kar 4896), causing confusion and potentially harming the shop’s reputation.

By creating and verifying your Google My Business account, you can maintain control over important details like your business name and prevent others from making unauthorized changes.

kedai kopi seng thor - google my business

💡Additional tips:

We recommend adding multiple owners or managers to your Google My Business account to avoid relying too heavily on a single primary owner.

Doing so can help ensure that your account is accessible and manageable even if the primary owner is unavailable or experiences issues.

For example, in our experience, we have received requests for assistance from clients who have forgotten their Google My Business account email and password.

By having multiple owners or managers listed on the account, these types of issues can be avoided or more easily resolved.

So, consider adding additional team members or trusted individuals as owners or managers to your Google My Business account to help ensure its accessibility and security.

Google my business account admin setting

2. Be careful about the information you get from the internet

The internet has revolutionized the way we access and consume information. However, with the ease of access, comes a potential downside of fake information spreading uncontrollably.

One of the most concerning issues is the proliferation of fake social media accounts, particularly on Facebook, impersonating real individuals and pushing their fraudulent products or services. These accounts can even run Facebook ads and reach a wider audience, making it difficult for users to discern what is real and what is fake.

This has become a major concern for both consumers and businesses alike. Consumers may unknowingly fall victim to fraudulent schemes or scams, while businesses may suffer reputational damage if their brand is associated with fake accounts or misleading information.

To combat the spread of fake information, it is important to be vigilant and practice critical thinking when consuming online content. Users should verify the legitimacy of accounts and information sources, cross-check information against other reliable sources, and report any suspicious activity to the relevant authorities.

view edit history facebook post

Facebook edit history

While it is possible for users to report or flag fake accounts, the truth is that many of us lack the awareness and skills to identify and verify information online. This can lead to innocent victims falling prey to scams and fraudulent schemes.

Take, for example, the fake account associated with Seng Thor Coffee Shop. Upon closer inspection, the account was created just one day ago on March 20th, 2023, as evidenced by the edit history of the first post. Unfortunately, many users may not know how to check the edit history of a post on Facebook or how to spot other suspicious clues that may indicate a fake account.

3. Emotion Marketing

The reason the coffee shop incident became so viral overnight is due to the strong emotional reaction it triggered among netizens, particularly anger. This illustrates the power of copywriting in marketing and the significant impact that just a few well-crafted sentences can have.

Unfortunately, many digital marketers simply write copy for the sake of doing so, without considering the emotional impact that their words can have on their audience. However, if emotion elements are effectively incorporated into the text, the results can be much more impactful.

By leveraging emotional triggers such as joy, fear, anger, and sadness, marketers can create more compelling and engaging content that resonates with their audience. This can lead to increased engagement, conversions, and ultimately, success in the digital marketplace.

Therefore, it is important for digital marketers to understand the power of emotional copywriting and to use it effectively in their campaigns. By doing so, they can create more meaningful connections with their audience and drive greater business results.

power words for writing emotional headlines

Source: CoSchedule Blog

💡Additional tips:

If you’re looking to create titles that will grab your audience’s attention and differentiate your content, consider using ChatGPT.

With its ability to generate and enhance titles using emotional language, ChatGPT can help you create more compelling and engaging headlines that will stand out from the competition.

ChatGPT screenshot

Learn to leverage ChatGPT for business growth. Sign up for our SEO masterclass now and discover how to create engaging content that drives results.

ChatGPT SEO Exabytes masterclass

4. Content ideas for creating memes

In today’s fast-paced economy, the adage ‘the fast fish eats the slow fish’ rings true. If you can capitalize on the latest viral news quickly, your content can spread rapidly and gain popularity within the viral period.

One example of creative content created from viral news is the memes by 蹭热度的hahameme.

seng thor koptiam meme

seng thor coffee shop meme

While memes may not be suitable for all businesses, they are a great way to join the bandwagon and capitalize on free marketing while a trend is still hot.

Often, we focus on creating the best content to generate high engagement. However, a simple meme post can sometimes outperform even the most elaborate content.

To win the attention of the social media world, it’s important to be fast and creative in following trends. By staying ahead of the curve, you can attract a wider audience and gain a competitive edge in the digital marketplace.

5. The Cycle of Viral News is Fast

Upon checking the search term ‘Seng Thor’ on Google Trends, we can see that the interest and popularity of the topic faded within a day, with no signs of sustaining the trend.

To explore Google Trends for yourself, visit https://trends.google.com/trends/explore.

Google trend filter by seng thor query

Did you know that you can filter Google Trends data by region or location? For example, you can choose ‘Penang’ to segment the data and see the latest trends in that specific region. This can be useful if you’re creating a campaign targeting a specific area.

In addition to exploring the latest trends, you can also check related topics and queries to the search term for further insights.

google trend related topics and queries


Using viral news as a marketing tool can be a powerful way to create buzz and engagement around your brand or message.

One strategy is to stay on top of current events and trending topics, and then create content that ties into these conversations in a creative and compelling way.

By tapping into the emotional energy and interest around viral news, brands can increase their visibility and connect with potential customers in a meaningful way.

However, it’s important to ensure that your content is tasteful and respectful, and doesn’t exploit sensitive issues or situations for commercial gain.

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