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Singapore anti-gambling advert falls flat after Germany win

An anti-gambling advert which featured a man putting his son's life savings on Germany winning the World Cup was widely panned by Singaporeans online Wednesday after it was shown during Brazil's crushing defeat.

SINGAPORE: An anti-gambling advert which featured a man putting his son's life savings on Germany winning the World Cup was widely panned by Singaporeans online Wednesday after it was shown during Brazil's crushing defeat.

The advert by Singapore's National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) featured a group of boys excitedly discussing who will triumph in the ongoing World Cup.

At the end, one of them said while frowning: "I hope Germany wins. My dad bet all my savings on them." The screen then faded out to a message cautioning about the social fallout of gambling.

But for many Singaporeans the cautionary message fell on deaf ears as Germany romped home to a record breaking 7-1 victory over Brazil -- the worst semi-final defeat in World Cup history.

The advert aired at half-time, when Germany were already 5-0 ahead, prompting much mirth and ridicule online, including from two top government officials.

"Bad timing," Tan Chuan-Jin, Singapore's Minister for Manpower, wrote on his Facebook page. "Looks like the boy's father who bet all his savings on Germany will be laughing all the way to the bank!"

"At least the boy in the advertisement can get his savings back," added Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

A meme of the commercial by local blogger Lee Kin Mun with the caption "Always trust your father. #GER 7 : #BRA 1" went viral on Twitter Wednesday morning.

Dozens of other memes related to the commercial were also circulating on social media.

The advert also made it to social-entertainment news website Buzzfeed and The Tonight Show, the popular American talkshow hosted by Jimmy Fallon. 

“How much can there be in a kid’s savings?," Fallon asked the crowd. "He’s eight years old! 'My dad spent all my savings. $17.25'”. 

In response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, an NCPG spokesperson indicated that it would not be pulling the advert, and said: "The NCPG World Cup campaign aims to serve as a timely reminder to those who bet on soccer not to get carried away in the excitement and hype of the World Cup and let their gambling affect their loved ones.

"The focus of the TVC highlights how those close to the gambler are adversely affected by problem gambling and not who eventually wins the World Cup. Selecting Germany injected a sense of realism in our messaging, since no one will bet on a potentially losing team. At the end of the day, win or lose, the dangers of problem gambling, and the potential anxiety and pain that loved ones go through remain unchanged.

"Through this campaign, NCPG also intends to create awareness that help (24/7 helpline) is available to gamblers and their family members who are affected by problem gambling.” The spokesperson also confirmed the advertisement would not be pulled.

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