Electronics and entertainment industries top advertising complaints for 2017

Visitors at an consumer electronics fair on Nov 3, 2017. There were 29 reports about advertisements for electrical and electronic products. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Electrical and electronic products sparked the most complaints about advertisements here last year.

They were run a close second by ads for entertainment establishments, including a gruesome Halloween campaign by Resorts World Sentosa.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas) - the industry's self-regulatory body - received 269 cases of feedback last year, down from 284 in 2016, according to statistics released on Tuesday (Feb 13). Feedback includes requests for advertising advice, as well as complaints.

There were 29 reports about advertisements for electrical and electronic products. Of these, seven related to advertisements in trade-show fliers and the media that featured one product image and description but multiple model numbers and prices, such as "usual price", "sale price" and "show price", in each listing.

Asas said it has responded to complaints about ambiguous pricing by informing the retailers concerned to be clearer in their price and product claims, which they have since done.

The entertainment, beauty, food and beverage and telecommunications industries rounded up the list of most-complained-about advertisements.

There was an increase in feedback about advertisements by entertainment establishments, with 26 cases last year, up from 16 in 2016.

Nearly half of last year's complaints were about advertisements for Halloween-themed events by entertainment centres that members of the public found distasteful.

Last August, Resorts World Sentosa received criticism for a publicity stunt to promote its Halloween Horror Nights event.

Three memorials appeared at bus shelters, with names, photos and flowers dedicated to victims of a fictional Southpoint Mall collapse, with some people calling the campaign "tasteless" and "insensitive".

Another involved a mall's promotional material for a haunted house event to "solve the mystery of the missing girl", the watchdog said.

The advertisement that depicted self-harm breached the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice guidelines on violence and influence to children and young people, said Asas, which is an advisory council to the Consumers Association of Singapore.

Asas said: "As the feedback was received at the end of the advertisement's run, the advertiser agreed to take Asas' feedback into consideration for future Halloween events."

There were also complaints against film trailers and concerts.

Consumers who encounter advertisements that are not legal, decent, honest or truthful are encouraged to write to Asas by completing a form on its website at www.asas.org.sg/onlinecomplaint

They should include a clear copy of the advertisement and details about where they accessed or received it, said Asas.

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