CPF Board retirement ad on birthday gift top-up gets netizens talking

Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB)'s recent ad about retirement planning has raised eyebrows for encouraging married individuals to top up their spouse's CPF Special Account as a birthday gift. This sparked a conversation online, with reactions ranging from sarcasm to discussions on whether or not doing so was a good idea.

One netizen said that doing so for a wife's birthday would quickly land him in a divorce, while some others mentioned that it would be more practical to give the gift in cash. Other reactions include having birthday and wedding ang bao (red packets) now manifest in the form of CPF cheques.

In the ad, a couple's relationship is displayed over the years, starting with bouquets and balloons for the lady's first birthday celebration as a couple and a romantic hotel and jewellery set up on the fifth year. On the 10th year, the husband gives a red box (resembling a jewellery box) to the lady, who is now his wife. Inside the box is a printed document indicating he has topped up her CPF Special Account which she can use for her retirement. Watch the ad here:

The spot, which is called "The Birthday Gift", is part of a series of videos for the CPFB's "The future is closer than you think. Be ready with CPF" campaign which recently made its rounds online. Other videos include "New Home" which follows a young couple who shared a hobby of bowling as well as "Daddy" which follows a young boy through childhood to parenthood as he sits with his wife during labour.

According to a CPFB spokesperson, the series of videos was aimed at different audience segments and "spur" them to start planning for their future. In addition to the videos, a series of five roadshows will be run from August to November 2018. This will include digital, social and out-of-home platforms as well.

The creative for the campaign was handled by Saatchi & Saatchi, which was appointed earlier this year by the CPF Board. The appointment is for a length of one year, with the option to extend for another year, a CPFB spokesperson confirmed at the time. Through the appointment, CPFB looked to improve understanding and appreciation of the CPF system, as part of its ongoing educational efforts.