SINGAPORE - A recent Central Provident Fund Board advertisement showing senior citizens making their disapproval known with "tsk, tsk" sounds has been slammed by some netizens for portraying the elderly in a bad light.
The ad, Tsk, has also been criticised for being incomprehensible, with viewers failing to see the link between older people's purported tendency to go "tsk" and preparing for retirement.
Following the brickbats, the CPF Board said on Thursday (Sept 19) that it will "strive to improve how we convey our messages in future", adding that the elderly "should be respected and appreciated for their contributions to society".
The ad was posted on the CPF Board Facebook page on Aug 6 and was aimed at encouraging viewers to plan for their retirement.
It shows several elderly commuters tut-tutting at a young man who boards a bus. The young man is engrossed in a game on his mobile phone and behaves inconsiderately by, for instance, getting in the way of an alighting woman.
Netizens' responses have ranged from incomprehension to dismay, with some saying the ad failed to convey its intended message while others said it caricatured the elderly as rude and loud.
One reader of Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao said earlier: "Should people be made fun of just because they've grown older? This ad bullies the elderly and doesn't respect them."
The CPF Board said that message testing had been done with a range of Singaporeans including those in higher age groups before the commercial's release.
It said many they spoke to found the advertisement relatable.
"A good number of our focus group respondents found that the messages of people living longer, and therefore needing to plan early for retirement, resonated with them," the board said.
"The light-hearted treatment of the television commercial was also easy to relate to."
Even so, the board also acknowledged that responses to the ad have been divisive, saying: "Since launch, while some viewers may not have received the commercial positively, others felt that the commercial was memorable and made them realise the importance of planning for their retirement."