Toast Communications responds to CY Leung through full-page recruitment ad in Apple Daily

Toast Communications has launched a full-page ad in Apple Daily today to respond to former Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung’s daily Facebook posts pinpointing full-page ads on the newspaper.

The ad states that the agency is now looking for copywriters. The requirements listed for successful candidates are rather tongue-in-cheek jabs such as; they are required to enjoy Hong Kong’s lifestyles over several generations, embrace press freedom and a free economy, and be a mature internet user. Another requirement crossed with biting commentary would be that the applicant would not be seeking attention across social media platforms to get the job.

If candidates fail to meet these requirements, Toast Communications says it would be "ashamed to be associated with the applicant". The statement being a play on Leung's Facebook comments that advertisers "are feeling too ashamed to be associated with (Apple Daily)" when there were no full-page ads in the paper.

"I hope the advertising industry can do business without fear, and use our creative work to respond to a state leader (Leung)," said Vincent Tsui, founder and CEO of Toast Communications.

Tsui also said Leung's acts had "twisted" the advertising industry, since there had been no other political figures interfering with freedom of expression in this mannner over the years.

The ad features two slices of toast, one of which is burnt. Asked about the creative idea behind this visual, Tsui said readers can exercise their imagination to figure out the meaning. "But some acts have "burnt" and "twisted" Hong Kong," he told.

The ad aims to respond to CY Leung’s personal Facebook page since he has been counting full-page ads on Apple Daily every day since 21 March. After the ad was out, Leung published a post on his Facebook page, saying the copywriting should "be mature to run a newspaper", and avoid "Karma" in commentaries. If not, he said, readers would follow their counterparts in Western countries, and "feel too ashamed to be associated with the newspaper".

Leung’s comment references a column by commentator Lee Yee entitled “Karma", written after the death of pro-Beijing entrepreneur and member of the Hong Kong delegation to the National People's Congress Peter Wong in early March this year. Leung had criticised the commentator for lacking morality.

Leung also said that as advertisers are paying money to the Apple Daily newspaper - which is the commentator’s employer - he questioned advertisers’ duties to explain to consumers if they agree with the Apple Daily’s stance on important moral issues.