Advertisers must be able to back up claims

As pointed out by Dr Michael Loh Toon Seng ("Look into 'fast money' ads"; last Saturday), under the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (Scap), all advertisements should be legal, decent, truthful and honest.

In addition, all claims made in advertisements should be capable of substantiation.

Upon receiving feedback about a misleading advertisement, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) may call upon the advertiser to provide documentary evidence for its claims. If it fails to do so, it will be required to modify or withdraw its advertisement.

Should the advertiser fail to comply with ASAS' requirements, it may have advertising space withheld by media owners and have its trading and business privileges revoked. In addition, it risks the sanction of negative publicity.

ASAS has observed an increase in the type of advertisements seen by Dr Loh.

Hence, we have updated Appendix J of Scap, which pertains to the advertising of investments, properties and investment-related services.

The new guidelines took effect on Aug 12, and they minimise the scope for advertisers to make claims that are speculative, misleading or incapable of substantiation.

We thank Dr Loh for his feedback and invite him to write to us with more details about the advertisements that he encountered.

Tan Sze Wee (Dr)


Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Advertisers must be able to back up claims'. Print Edition | Subscribe