Advertising watchdog asks Cathay to remove phrase in Pink Dot ad

Advertising watchdog asks Cathay to remove phrase in Pink Dot ad

pink dot ad 2017
The Pink Dot 2017 ad in Cathay Cineleisure mall. (Photo: Facebook/Hana Akari)

SINGAPORE: The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has advised Cathay Organisation to remove a phrase in an advertisement at Cathay Cineleisure mall promoting an upcoming Pink Dot event.

The phrase in question reads: "Supporting the freedom to love." In a statement on Friday (Jun 9), ASAS said this "may affect public sensitivities due to the issues at hand".

"The rest of the advertisement may otherwise remain," said the advertising watchdog, noting that "the Pink Dot advertisement at Cineleisure technically does not breach the general principle on family values in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice".

It added that promoting the Pink Dot event was allowed, as long as the organisers have obtained the necessary permit to hold it. "Hence, advertisements that publicise details of the event, such as the date and the location, are acceptable," ASAS stated.

The ad - which went up on an escalator at the mall on May 31 - drew complaints from people in the "We are against Pinkdot in Singapore" Facebook group, who are opposed to the annual rally held in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

On Friday, mall management Cathay Organisation confirmed that ASAS had written to the company about the ad.

However, Cathay said it is not in the position to decide on the matter. Even though it is the owner of the advertising platform provided to the event, the ownership of the ad belongs to Pink Dot, it said. "We will, however, relay the ASAS comments to the organisers of Pink Dot," said a spokesperson.

Cathay also reiterated its statement earlier this week that it supports "an all-inclusive society."

"Since making the statement, Cathay has received, and is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of positive support from the public through emails and social media. We hope that this positivity can be felt by all, and wish for greater acceptance and understanding amongst fellow Singaporeans," the spokesperson said. 

Source: CNA/mz