Code to ensure honest ads

  • AseanPlus News
  • Wednesday, 08 Jan 2003

SOME late night television advertisements for chatline services may be sent packing if they do not conform to a new code of advertising practice published on Monday. 

They must now include warnings on the dangers of meeting strangers through chatlines as well as the companies’ names and office telephone numbers. 

The new guidelines have been listed in the updated version of the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice.  

The code, to promote ethical advertising here, spells out guidelines to protect the public from advertisements that mislead, misrepresent or offend. 

Developed by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas), which regulates all advertising in Singapore and is an advisory council of the Consumers Association of Singapore, it is a revised version of the code framed almost 30 years ago. 

Last year, the association received 202 complaints about misleading or indecent advertisements or commercials. 

These included an advertisement by a condominium developer saying its units overlooked Orchard Road when the condo was actually in Redhill, eight MRT stops away. 

Asas chairman Ivan Chong said at a press conference on Monday that the association get frequent complaints about certain industries, like slimming and beauty centres, and timeshare and with the new code, it would be easier to rein them in. 

One misleading advertisement that the association was forced to act against promised “botanical” bust enhancement and carried false testimonials from two fictitious women who said: “My dream was from A cup to B cup.” 

An indecent advertisement the association had to clamp down on was Virgin Mobile’s promotion of its non-contract policy which showed a naked man, his private parts barely concealed by Virgin’s logo. The slogan said: “Nothing to hide.” The com- 

pany withdrew the advertisement. 

The scope of the code has been expanded to include advertising in all media. Asas has been effective because it has as members Singapore’s major media owners and government agencies. 

When a complaint arises, advertisers are given seven days to substantiate their claims. If an advertisement clearly violates guidelines, the association can suspend it or ban the advertiser for up to three months. –The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

  • Another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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