AIA S'pore's Instagram managed by DSTNCT, a social media agency from the Gushcloud family

Here's what we found.

Jeanette Tan| March 05, 04:33 PM

On Friday evening, word about how large insurance company AIA asked a local photographer for free use of his Instagram images blew up on Facebook, especially among the creative community.

Later on Friday, Tan Zexun, the photographer, revealed that the folks running the insurance giant's Instagram account is a social media agency called DSTNCT:

from Dstnct, who handles social media for AIA Singapore, w.r.t. the previous image and ongoing...

Posted by Zexun Tan on Friday, 4 March 2016


Lo and behold, DSTNCT turns out to be part of the Gushcloud family.

DSTNCT was appointed fairly recently in December 2015 to handle both strategy and management across AIA’s key social media platforms, which includes Instagram and Facebook.

A check on DSTNCT on ACRA, the government business registration portal, revealed:

1. DSTNCT Pte Ltd was formerly known as The Barnett Group Pte Ltd



2. And DSTNCT's current address is at 60 Anson Road, #07-01, MapleTree Anson, Singapore 079914.


3. At least two Gushcloud (now referred to as the Gush Digital Group [GDG, you'll understand this later], it seems) people are linked to The Barnett Group previously.

i. Althea Lim




ii. Vincent Ha




4. On ACRA, Gushcloud's listed address is also 60 Anson Road, #07-01, MapleTree Anson, Singapore 079914:



5. Now, DSTNCT's previous address was at Lorong 4 Toa Payoh:

625 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh

General Magnetics Building


Singapore 319519

Which also happens to be formerly Gushcloud's address.


6. DSTNCT’s Facebook page shows a photo of their new office premises at 60 Anson Road:

hello to the new mad kids on CBD. It's day 1 of rocking with the Big Boys. ;)#TheBigMove #DSTNCTSG #Fluxsg #GDGFamily #BiggerBetterFasterStronger #cbdherewecome #Milestone #Asia

Posted by Dstnct on Tuesday, 10 November 2015


7. And here's where GDG comes in. Using the #GDGFamily hashtag we spotted in that photo will lead to this one on Instagram:

Moved in into our new office last week and we celebrated 3 of our colleagues' birthday! #GDGFamily #GCMilestones A photo posted by Gushcloud Singapore (@gushcloud_sg) on

And this:

Screenshot from Instagram Screenshot from Instagram

Now, if you have no idea what Gushcloud is, please keep it that way.

If you vaguely recall it, here's a recap of the epic social media industry's quasi-upheaval that went down in December 2014 when Gushcloud was accused of unethical practices. And to put an end to this sorry episode, Tan the photographer then followed up with a final lengthy post on his Facebook account:

the villain would say, "Any last words?"Well yeah, last one. I will not comment on the current situation between...

Posted by Zexun Tan on Friday, 4 March 2016


The TL;DR of that is Tan feels it is not right for corporations to be asking photographers (or any creatives or content producers for that matter) for content for free, especially when they make a living off said content.

Whether or not they do pay people to do so in other scenarios is besides this point.

Perhaps it's time for all these big brand names to take back direct control over their social media accounts.


Related articles:

Both Singtel and Gushcloud apologise for shoddy marketing practices

Singtel CEO says sorry to M1 & StarHub, fires Gushcloud

Someone leaked Gushcloud’s WhatsApp group chat showing conversations after Xiaxue went to war with them


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