Pokka confirms it will not renew Vivian Lai's endorsement contract

Marketing collaterals featuring Vivian Lai have been removed from Pokka’s social media websites. (PHOTO: YouTube screengrab)

Beverage maker Pokka confirmed on Monday (22 October) that it will not be renewing its endorsement contract with Mediacorp actress and host Vivian Lai.

The company said in a statement that, as part of its “ongoing marketing strategy”, it has decided not to renew the 41-year-old’s three-year contract, which has since concluded.

“I thank Pokka for the opportunity to endorse the brand and wish the company every success,” said Lai in the statement. She had endorsed the company for the past 11 years.

A check on Pokka’s social media pages found that, since September, all marketing collaterals featuring Lai have been replaced.

Husband suspended from CEO post

The move ends the company’s near decade-long partnership with Lai. It follows weeks after an internal management audit done by the company which also saw Lai’s husband Alain Ong, Pokka International’s chief executive officer, being suspended from his duties.

Ong had handled international marketing for the brand in over 60 countries. He was also the one who pushed for more Pokka vending machines throughout Singapore and other parts of the world.

The audit also saw a major shake-up of the company’s senior management, with eight who held management-level positions being replaced.

Ong’s duties have since been handed over to Rieko Shofu, Group CEO of Pokka Corp (Singapore). She is concurrently the acting CEO of Pokka International.

“Pokka would like to thank Vivian Lai for her contribution to the company,” Shofu said in its statement.

Lai ‘well-paid’ for representing brand: report

Shin Min Daily News reported last month that Lai had allegedly been paid $1 million in 2012 to represent Pokka. The amount exceeded what was generally paid to Mediacorp artistes.

However, Mediacorp has since refuted the report, calling it “speculative”.

Karen Yew, Mediacorp’s head of corporate marketing and communications, said that the media conglomerate continues to provide Pokka with solutions to “promote its brand and extensive range of iconic, well-loved products in Singapore”.

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Vivian Lai, Alain Ong, and Pokka Corporation through the years