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Manulife SG apologises for ad attaching monetary value to professions

Manulife Singapore has swiftly apologised for its career path video that assigned monetary values to various professions. On its Facebook page, the insurance company put on an apology and also said it has taken down the video.

The post read that education is an important journey and every path is a different one that requires significant sacrifices. “In an earlier video, we made the mistake of assigning monetary value to different professions and we realise that this is not right. We sincerely apologise for the mistake and have taken down the video,” the statement read.

In a statement to Marketing, a Manulife spokesperson said the original intention of the video is to show that investments are needed to realise life goals and careers. In the ad, the spokesperson added that the team chose a variety of professions from designers, musicians to doctors and accountants, and aimed to use a monetary value to demonstrate the importance of financial planning.

Manulife Singapore also admitted that when the video was published, there was an error with the figure assigned to musicians, which ultimately made the ad appear contrary to what it was trying to showcase. Initially the team at Manulife wanted to clarify and correct the typo, but realised that the issue was not about the monetary amount that was featured.

“We understand that the path to achieving career goals comprise not only training, education but also intangible factors like time and passion which cannot be represented by a monetary value regardless of profession. We are sorry and regret any offence caused. We did not have any ill intent when assigning the monetary values and have since taken down the video,” the spokesperson said.

This comes after fellow netizens spotted SG$5,000 allocated to musicians under the career path, while the amounts accompanying other occupations were ranging from SG$80,000 to SG$200,000. The ad was part of Manulife’s Mrs Fortune Teller campaign, which aims to tackle Millennials’ tenancy to shy away from serious conversations about their future and what it holds.

The netizen who raised concerns about the ad prides himself as a musician who has been honing the craft since six, according to his post. He broke down the weekly lessons he took to master the art, as well as pursuing further education in music. According to the screenshots on his page, he accumulated all of the expenses to amount up to SG$60,000.

A screenshot of some comments left on the video saw several others calling out Manulife to remove the post and educate itself on the hardships and sacrifices musicians undergo. The team handling social for Manulife responded to each comment saying that the ad has a typo and that it is working to update it. However, an hour after its last comment on fixing the typo, Manulife put out an apology and informed netizens that the video has been removed.

Overall, the comments left on its apology post were positive. Several users thanked Manulife for acknowledging the problem and rectifying the situation. One netizen said if an extra zero was added to the SG$5,000 figure, this backlash “probably wouldn’t have occurred”. However, he explained that the advert would still have been in “very poor taste” for assigning monetary value to (and stereotyping) professions, which isn’t the right thing to do.

(Photo courtesy: Eugene Seow)

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