Pink Dot 2017 ad placement found in Cathay Cineleisure sparked police reports from netizens against the controversial LGBTQ event in Singapore. The netizens discussing the ad were part of a group called “We are against Pinkdot in Singapore”.
The ad was first brought to attention by a Facebook user, and quickly escalated into a flurry of discussion over which mall the ad appeared in and criticisms towards both Pink Dot organisers and Cathay Cineleisure mall for displaying the ad.
A quick check by Marketing confirmed that the ad was placed on one of the escalators of the building. Marketing understands that Pink Dot organisers were allowed to engage in promotional activities as long as they held a license. Marketing has reached out to SPF for comment.
When contacted by 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. This is not the first time Cathay Organisation has shown its support for the cause. Prior to the ban on foreign involvement, the organisation was a corporate sponsor for the event.
In 2015, Cathay also placed an application to screen a Pink Dot 2015 promotional trailer in its cinemas. Its application was rejected by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (now IMDA). While films and trailers shown in cinemas are subject to classification by IMDA, advertisements are largely self-regulated, Marketing understands.
OOH players speak up
Following the furore over the advertisement, Marketing reached out to several out-of-home players on their thoughts on the matter.
According to a spokesperson from local out-of-home player Mediacorp OOH Media, the organisation stands guided by the ASAS advertising guidelines when vetting of ad materials, in particular the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice.
“If there is a grey and debatable area, we will work closely with the advertisers and stakeholders, and put up for further consultation with ASAS towards a resolution. Usually we will try to arrange for meeting or consultation with all parties,” the Mediacorp OOH spokesperson said.
Echoing the statement is Evlyn Yang, managing director at JCDecaux Singapore, as long as it does not contravene Advertising Codes of Practice and the building partners the JCDecaux Singapore work with are in agreement, the company would say yes to the ad.
Meanwhile, Clear Channel and Moove Media declined to comment, while SPHMBO has yet to respond to Marketing's queries.
According to the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice, all advertisements “shall not subvert the shared values in Singapore’s society”. These values include nation before community and society above self, family as the basic unit of society, community support and respect for the individual, Consensus, not conflict; and racial and religious harmony.
Marketing has reached out to ASAS for clarification on its stance for this particular ad.