Retirement planning ads draw flak over portrayal of elderly
In one commercial, a young office worker has to take care of his family and meet the demands of his parents.
In another, elderly commuters click their tongues in disapproval at an inconsiderate teenager on a bus.
Meant to encourage early retirement planning, the two advertisements have instead drawn flak for their portrayal of the older generation.
The first, by insurance firm NTUC Income, titled The Promise, has gone viral since it was launched on Sept 5.
Racking up more than three million views in two weeks, the video, almost four minutes long, has been praised by many for being relatable, touching and thought-provoking.
But some took issue with the portrayal of the main character's father. In the video, the father expresses unhappiness over many issues from household allowance, the size of his son's car, to the class of hospital ward the mother stays in.
Said one reader of Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao: "The parents in the film, who look to be from the Merdeka Generation, gave their child the best care. How could they become annoying debt collectors after growing old?"
NTUC Income chief marketing officer Marcus Chew defended the ad, telling The New Paper that more than 90 per cent of the 12,000 reactions on social media had been positive.
Said Mr Chew: "The dramatisation is intended to move the audience to reflect on their own personal circumstances and to drive conversations on matters that are important but not discussed as frequently or openly... in this case, around retirement adequacy and the impact it will have on the next generation."
Separately, a commercial titled Tsk by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board has also been slammed online.
The 30-second clip has been criticised for being disrespectful to the elderly and failing to convey its intended message.
A CPF Board spokesman told TNP message testing was conducted with a range of Singaporeans, including those in higher age groups, before the commercial's release.
A good number of focus group respondents found the messages of people living longer, and therefore needing to plan early for retirement, resonated with them, he said.
"Nonetheless, we will strive to improve how we convey our messages in future," he added.