by Wesley Gunter
Some Singaporeans have their panties in a knot over the Singapore Cancer Society’s latest cervical cancer ad showing three local celebrities in white dresses posing cheekily like screen legend Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. Why? Because of this supposedly morally objectionable tagline: LIFT YOUR SKIRT, SAVE A LIFE.
These six words seem to be more offensive to Singaporeans than watching a Quentin Tarantino movie judging from the flood of feedback from the public who claimed to have been “offended”.
While it’s understandable that the ad may be offensive to those who prefer to see things in black and white, or to those who think “thinking out of the box” means stepping out of their work cubicle for a smoke break, some of the comments quoted in today’s ST just defies common logic.
Take this, for example: Vivien Tan, an administrative manager, who said: “Some women might think it is an advertisement for movies or fashion.”
I don’t know what movies this lady has been watching, or what movie posters she has come across, but the ad sure doesn’t look like any movie poster out there I’ve seen lately.
Miss Yvonne Jin, a 21-year old student shared her brilliant take on the issue by saying “… Just because [using sexual undertones] gets people talking doesn’t mean it sends the right message.”
Sorry but isn’t the purpose of advertising to get people talking? And what is so wrong about the message? It’s basically telling women to get a PAP smear to reduce their chances of getting cervical cancer. But put that way, it’s not going to grab your attention, is it? Sex sells… or haven’t you noticed any of the programmes on the Disney channel lately? Welcome to the real world…
Probably the most self-righteous comment came from Ms Corinna Lim, Aware’s executive director. She said: “It is a sad reflection on society that good causes also have to resort to sex to promote their message.”
For crying out loud, where have these people been living their whole lives? Have they never watched television before? And to be honest, if an ad like this CAN make more women go for PAP smears because it GRABS their attention and saves their lives, hasn’t it met its objectives?
The only thing that is “sad” about this whole affair is how this creative attempt was so readily shot down before it was given a chance to see if it actually works.