The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has weighed in on the recent furore over a Pink Dot 2017 ad found at Cathay Cineleisure.
In a conversation with Marketing, an ASAS spokesperson said that all advertisements in Singapore must comply with the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP), and that the premise is that all advertisements must be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”.
Noting the Public Order Act 2009 (Chapter 257A), ASAS explained that the organisers of Pink Dot may promote the event as long as they possess the necessary permit to hold it.
The ASAS Council has deliberated on the advertisement in question and deemed that it does not breach the SCAP.
ASAS also cited the SCAP’s General Principles, specifically under its "Family values" section 10.1, where advertisements should not "downplay the importance of the family as a unit and foundation of society."
As such, keeping with the shared values in Singapore’s society, such as "family as the basic unit of society", "community support and respect for the individual"; and "consensus, not conflict", the council is of the view that the statement "Supporting the freedom to love" must be removed.
ASAS has since written to Cathay to inform it to amend the advertisement and will be following-up on its compliance.
Marketing has reached out to Cathay and Pink Dot 2017 for comment.
The issue unfolded following an ad promoting Pink Dot 2017 was found in Cathay Cineleisure. The ad led to police reports being filed from netizens against the controversial LGBTQ event in Singapore. In statement to Marketing, a Cathay spokesperson said that as an entertainment company, Cathay has always believed in an all-inclusive society where there is a place for everyone to call home.
“This is and has always been in line with our mission of bringing people together. We hope to inspire people to embrace the values of equality where one can live and love freely,” the Cathay spokesperson added.
In 2015, Cathay also placed an application to screen a Pink Dot 2015 promotional trailer in its cinemas, an application which was eventually rejected by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (now IMDA), which subjects all films and trailers shown in cinemas to classification. Marketing understood at the time that advertisements, however, are largely self-regulated.