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Circles.Life on its choice of explicit content in ad

Circles.Life on its choice of explicit content in ad

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Circles.Life has clarified that it's new explicit ad that has been raising eyebrows aims to showcase different takes on parenting, with an open-minded and unconventional reaction to an “uncomfortable” situation.

In the ad, a mother is seen waking up in the middle of the night to strange sounds. She comes downstairs to see her son watching porn on his phone. 

Don't miss: Circles.Life SG hands PR and comms remit to TEAM LEWIS

Startled, the son accidently clicks "screen mirroring" instead of closing the video. The explicit video begins to play on the television. The mother, instead of getting upset, smiles and hands the boy a pair of headphones. She then reminds him not to stay up too late. 

The video then says on the screen, "Don't be embarrassed. Do your own thing."

"We’ve received quite a bit of interest about the ad, with a mixture of confusion, negative feedback and support," said Circles.Life in a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. It added:

The mixed feedback for such a polarizing topic is expected. 

"Some judge the mum’s response as condoning inappropriate behaviour. However, the scene depicted could be in any movie or drama. From our research done in partnership with Milieu Insights, a vast majority of Singaporeans across age groups favour open conversations around sex and sex education," it explained. 

In its survey, it found that 46% of those aged 16-24 believe sex education should begin as early as primary school. They are also more willing to engage in conversations about and around sex with friends and family. However, in reality, many still shun away from these topics due to fear of shame or being stigmatised, it said.

"Our motive is to bring attention to such topics and encourage open conversations about them," said Circles.Life, adding that the key takeaway it wanted to create was to challenge the stigma around such topics and encourage open discussions "without shame".

"'Mature-themed content' has become an integral part of modern media, with movies and shows portraying such themes openly," said Ebony Ngieng, senior marketing manager at Circles.Life.

"Our ad puts a twist on parenting, showing an open-minded and unconventional reaction to an 'awkward' situation. We encourage families to be comfortable discussing such topics and not shy away or feel stigmatised," she said, adding:

Embracing these moments for open dialogue can help demystify the subject

The ad was part of Circles.Life's "Do your own thing" (DYOT) positioning. 

According to an analysis by media monitoring company Truescope when the ad was released, netizens expressed concern about Circles.Life's new ad. As of the morning 7th June, comments were centered around the YouTube post by Circles.Life as well as a thread on Reddit.

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Truescope noted that traction is low, with netizens considering it inappropriate due to the perception that it encouraged Singaporeans to consume explicit materials.

Some viewers were worried as the ad appeared on YouTube while they were watching with their family and children. A few remarked that the video was "interesting," noting that the ad addressed an unconventional and "suspicious" topic. Some netizens hoped that future ads will be better filtered and reviewed.

Although the ad received some negative feedback, there is still a level of engagement and curiosity around the ad, with some netizens on Reddit searching for the ad online to understand the controversy.

Media intelligence firm Meltwater also reported a spike in mentions with regards to Circles.Life. 

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