Cathay asked to amend Pink Dot advertisement by watchdog over 'family values'

Cathay has been asked to modify its Pink Dot advertisement in the Cathay Cineleisure mall. (Photo: Facebook/BeProud)

UPDATE: Pink Dot and Cathay have issued a response to the request by ASAS regarding the advertisement.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) has told cinema operator Cathay to amend its Pink Dot advertisement at Cathay Cineleisure in order to abide by “family values”.

The advertisement recently sparked discussion on social media, with some netizens calling for police to investigate it. It displays the Pink Dot rally’s date and venue and portrays the event’s ambassadors.

Pink Dot is an annual demonstration at Hong Lim Park that aims to promote equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The event drew a 28,000-strong crowd in 2015 and recently attracted a record amount of sponsorship despite new regulations restricting foreign companies from donating to it.

The rally has been in the spotlight after the law was changed to exclude foreigners from participating in demonstrations at Hong Lim Park.

The Singapore Police Force previously confirmed to AsiaOne that Pink Dot’s promotional activities were allowed as long as they held a licence.

However, ASAS, an advisory council to the Consumers Association of Singapore, has issued a statement to Marketing Magazine that it is of the view that the statement “Supporting the freedom to love” must be removed from Cathay’s advertisement.

The self-regulatory body of the advertising industry cited the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice’s (SCAP) General Principles.

Under its family values section, advertisements should not “downplay the importance of the family as a unit and foundation of society”.

The ASAS council believes that Cathay’s advertisement has to be modified in keeping with the shared values of Singapore’s society, such as “family as the basic unit of society”, “community support and respect for the individual”, and “consensus, not conflict”.

ASAS also said that it has written to Cathay to inform them of the amendment to be made, and “will be following up on its compliance”.

Cathay previously told Marketing Magazine that as an entertainment company, it believes in an inclusive society where there is a place for everyone to call home.

“This is and 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,” the Cathay spokesperson said.

Cathay was previously a Pink Dot sponsor. In 2015, Cathay had applied to show a video advertisement for Pink Dot in cinemas, but it was rejected by the Media Development Authority, which said the advertisement was not in the public interest.

Yahoo Singapore has reached out to Cathay for a statement.

Other Singapore stories:
Chinese national fined $1,000 for leaving bag unattended at Hougang MRT station

Yeo Jia Min is first Singaporean to top badminton world junior rankings

Gong Cha is no longer leaving the Singapore market: report

Look inside: First Shell station in Singapore with a 24-hour McDonald’s Drive-Thru