Monday, 12 June 2017

Furor over a Pink Dot 2017 advert

Cathay told to remove tagline on Pink Dot ads
The Pink Dot ads for its Jul 1 event at Hong Lim Park are displayed on the front door panels & along an escalator inside Cathay Cineleisure Orchard. ST FOTO: DAVE LIM

Singapore's advertising watchdog has asked for a statement to be removed from advertisements for the lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender rally, Pink Dot, on display at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas) told The Straits Times that while the ad does not "technically" breach the general principle on family values in the S'pore Code of Advertising Practice, the words "supporting the freedom to love" may affect public sensitivities.

"As such, Asas advised Cathay Organisation Holdings to remove the statement. However, the rest of the advertisement may otherwise remain," said the watchdog.

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Pink Dot ad: Cathay says it believes in all-inclusive society
The Pink Dot 2017 ad in Cathay Cineleisure mall. (Photo: Facebook / Hana Akari)

At least one person has threatened to make a police report, but Cathay Organisation is standing by an advertisement at Cathay Cineleisure mall promoting the upcoming Pink Dot event.

The ad - which went up on an escalator at the mall on May 31 - drew complaints from people in the "We are against Pink Dot in Singapore" FaceBook group, who are opposed to the annual rally held in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Facebook group has more than 6,000 members.

"As an entertainment company, we have always believed in an all-inclusive society where there is a place for everyone to call home," a spokesperson for Cathay told Channel NewsAsia. "This is & has always been in line with our mission of bringing people together. We hope to inspire people to embrace the values of equality where one can live and love freely."

related:
Advertising watchdog asks Cathay to remove phrase in Pink Dot ad
Pink Dot ad: Cathay says it believes in all-inclusive society

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Cathay and Pink Dot respond to ASAS’ demand for ad amendment
Pink Dot Ad Cathay Cineleisure

Following ASAS’ recent decision on Pink Dot’s Cathay Cineleisure ad, both Cathay and Pink Dot have given Marketing their response to the authority’s decision.

Cathay confirmed that ASAS had followed up with the organisation, but maintained that it was the owner of the advertising platform provided to Pink Dot.

“Given that the ownership of the ad belongs to Pink Dot, Cathay is not in the position to decide on the removal of the statement ‘Supporting the freedom to love’ on the advertisement,” a Cathay spokesperson said. The organisation however, stated that it would relay ASAS comments to the organisers of Pink Dot. Meanwhile, it added that it stands by its previous statement to support an all-inclusive society.

related: ASAS asks Cathay to amend Pink Dot 2017 advertisement

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PinkDot2017 Ad: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The hoo-ha over the by now famous PinkDot2017 ad at Cathay Cineleisure is a classic case of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Cathay Organisation has emerged very nicely on the side of the angels, pardon the totally intended pun, with scant apologies to religious groups and others who seek to impose their values on others. When asked by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) to remove or amend the tagline “Supporting the Freedom to Love”, Cathay refused, saying that as an entertainment company, it has “always believed in an all-inclusive society where there is a place for everyone to call home”.

Indeed, the Cathay spokesperson added: “Since making the statement, Cathay has received, and is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of positive support from the public through emails and social media. We hope that this positivity can be felt by all, and wish for greater acceptance and understanding amongst fellow Singaporeans.”

related: ASAS Chairman is member of gay-hate Facebook group

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Cathay Cineleisure puts up 8-metre long Pink Dot ad at front entrance

Cathay Cineleisure has overnight put up an 8-metre long, 2.5-metre high Pink Dot advertisement right smack at the front entrance of the mall.

Here is what Cathay Cineleisure thinks of the calls for its Pink Dot ad to be reported to the police and the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) advice to remove the “Supporting the freedom to love” slogan from its other Pink Dot ad stuck to the side of its escalator:

This new massive ad also features the slogan, “Come support the freedom to love!”

related:
Pink Dot ad in Cineleisure sparks calls to report matter to police
ASAS advised Cathay to remove Pink Dot slogan as it ‘may affect public sensitivities’

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Cathay Cineleisure helps advertise Pink Dot 2017
In what seems to be a first, Cathay Cineleisure has put up an advertisement for Pink Dot 2017

“PinkDot2017 – supporting the freedom to love, Hong Lim Park” is the giant banner on the side of the elevator inside the cineleisure building.

It is believed this is the first time that a commercial building has allowed the advertisement of the annual gay event held at Hong Lim Park’s Speakers’ Corner.

Last year, the authorities decided to tighten the rules for the event and informed the organisers that foreigners will no longer be allowed to participate in the gathering this year.

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Cathay unable to execute ASAS’s decision to have “Supporting the freedom to love” removed from ad

It is reported that Cathay declined to follow the advice from the Singapore advertising authority to remove the statement "Supporting the freedom to love" on an advertisement displayed on an escalator in its Cineleisure shopping mall due to the ownership of the ad.

A Cathay spokesperson was quoted by Marketing Interactive,“Given that the ownership of the ad belongs to Pink Dot, Cathay is not in the position to decide on the removal of the statement ‘Supporting the freedom to love’ on the advertisement,” and added that it stands by its previous statement to support an all-inclusive society.

The spokesperson further added,“Since making the statement, Cathay has received, and is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of positive support from the public through emails and social media. We hope that this positivity can be felt by all, and wish for greater acceptance and understanding amongst fellow Singaporeans,” the Cathay spokesperson said.

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Advertising watchdog asks Cathay to remove phrase in Pink Dot ad

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has advised Cathay Organisation to remove a phrase in an advertisement at Cathay Cineleisure mall promoting an upcoming Pink Dot event.

The phrase in question reads: “Supporting the freedom to love.” In a statement on Friday (Jun 9), ASAS said this “may affect public sensitivities due to the issues at hand”.

“The rest of the advertisement may otherwise remain,” said the advertising watchdog, noting that “the Pink Dot advertisement at Cineleisure technically does not breach the general principle on family values in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice”.

related:
Ad watchdog wants ‘supporting the freedom to love’ tag removed from Pink Dot ad
Pink Dot ad: Cathay says it believes in all-inclusive society
Pink Dot 2017 to have barricades, checks by security personnel

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Crux of the LGBT debate?

Over the past few days we have witnessed an intense debate over Cathay Cineleisure’s decision to put up posters promoting Pink Dot. But that is not the biggest crux of the issue. The biggest crux is what is the fight for and about. I have shared my position. Those who have agreed with mine have shared ours. But the most important question is what is the crux of the matter.

Is the fight about the “freedom to love”? I don’t think so. If it is truly about love, then how can you on the “freedom to love” movement subject others to the other side of the aisle the most unlovable form of response? Let’s face the hard truth, a good tree bears good fruits and your fruits give you away. If it is truly about love there is no need to bring up the religious beliefs or association of one for attack and vigilante treatment just because of disagreement in worldview as a matter of first response.

The fact that one’s religious beliefs were singled out when for that matter it wasn’t used in the debate shows that the real problem is not about the freedom to love. It lies elsewhere. Case in point. Why was there the need to bring up the chairman of ASAS’s religion and church when the ASAS did not even call for Pink Dot’s publicity ad to be taken down completely but rather for its subtitle “freedom to love” to be amended? And also factoring in that the call was made according to the book and not based on some hastily inserted clause or rule?

related:
ASAS must retract demands to Cathay and apologise
Pink Dot ad removed: Against UN resolutions 2016, 14 & 11?

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ASAS Says “Freedom To Love” On Cathay Pink Dot Ad Contravenes Code

Shortly after Cathay Cineleisure slapped an advertisement for the Pink Dot event on one of their escalators, members from the We Are Against Pink Dot (WAAPD) Facebook group lost their minds. The anti-gay group, in which a member earlier claimed that rainbow cakes were promoting the gay agenda, decided to try to report the matter to the police. It didn’t pay off at first — the police explained that it wasn’t really their business and summarily dismissed the case.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has entered the fray, reported Marketing Interactive on Thursday (June 8).

The advertising watchdog told Cathay to amend the ad, claiming that it “downplayed the importance of the family as a unit and foundation of society”, according to the Singapore Code Of Advertising Practice (SCAP).

related:
Ad Watchdog That Wants Cathay To Amend Pink Dot Ad Is Headed By Church Member
Rainbow Cakes Are Gay, Says Netizen On Anti-Pink Dot Group

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Advertising Standards Authority of S’pore has too much free time: Cherian George

In a world where 24 hours is no longer enough with so much stuff to do and battles to pick, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore has mastered the art of time-wasting and poor resource allocation.

Basically, the ASAS going after the Pink Dot ad in Cathay Cineleisure after receiving public feedback shows that the organisation is being way too selective in addressing complaints.

The above post is by highly learned media academic Cherian George, who has stuck one into ASAS. This is because, out of all the complaints the organisation could have acted upon, it picked the most frivolous one.

related:
ASAS advised Cathay to remove Pink Dot slogan as it ‘may affect public sensitivities’
Cathay Cineleisure puts up 8-metre long Pink Dot ad at front entrance
Watchdog’s decision to get Pink Dot slogan on Cathay ad amended questioned
Pink Dot ad in Cineleisure sparks calls to report matter to police
ASAS advised Cathay to remove Pink Dot slogan as it ‘may affect public sensitivities’

read more

Cathay unable to execute ASAS’s decision to have “Supporting the freedom to love” removed from ad

It is reported that Cathay declined to follow the advice from the Singapore advertising authority to remove the statement "Supporting the freedom to love" on an advertisement displayed on an escalator in its Cineleisure shopping mall due to the ownership of the ad.

A Cathay spokesperson was quoted by Marketing Interactive,“Given that the ownership of the ad belongs to Pink Dot, Cathay is not in the position to decide on the removal of the statement ‘Supporting the freedom to love’ on the advertisement,” and added that it stands by its previous statement to support an all-inclusive society.

The spokesperson further added,“Since making the statement, Cathay has received, and is grateful for the tremendous outpouring of positive support from the public through emails and social media. We hope that this positivity can be felt by all, and wish for greater acceptance and understanding amongst fellow Singaporeans,” the Cathay spokesperson said.

related: ASAS must retract demands to Cathay and apologise

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Cherian George Yesterday at 16:14 · Hong Kong

I, for one, am happy that ASAS has spoken up against Pink Dot's "freedom to love" tagline, because its statement, though wrongheaded, at least tells people that ASAS (1) actually exists, and (2) has lots of time on its hands.

If the Advertising Standards Authority can take up frivolous complaints like this, surely it can vigorously pursue issues of advertising ethics that are far more pressing from the standpoint of consumer rights—and even from the perspective of conservatives who are genuinely concerned about the impact of advertising on social values.

ASAS is behind the curve in regulating new (and not so new) forms of disguised advertising (like so-called "native" ads). Its code says anyone reading paid content should be able to tell, without reading it closely, that it is an ad and not editorial matter. It also says advertisers must be identified. Has it looked at mainstream media lately? And what about public sector agencies that sponsor content incognito on certain websites?

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related:
Foreigners barred from Singapore annual LGBT pride event
Pink Dot 2016 @ Hong Lim Park
Pink Dot 2015
Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2014
Pink Dots @ Hong Lim Park 2013
Singapore Court Ruling for Gay Rights
FAQs on Sexuality, LGBTs and Section 377A
Section 377A and the LGBTs
'Wear White' 2014
‘Wear White vs ‘Pink Dot’