Actress' post not meant to mislead: NTUC Income
NTUC Income has expressed regret to anyone upset by an Instagram post by actress Rebecca Lim last week which said that she was retiring when she was not.
At a press conference yesterday, the insurance company said it had worded the post in collaboration with the actress, whom it had engaged to talk about retirement planning.
But if Lim's fans were expecting an apology for the publicity stunt, there was none forthcoming.
NTUC Income's chief marketing officer Marcus Chew, 41, said: "We did not set out to mislead anyone. We regret upsetting anyone over the weekend."
When it was pointed out that most people would read the post as Lim retiring from acting, NTUC Income's head of strategic communications, Shannen Fong, 39, replied: "'Retiring' is about when you are starting that journey.
"With proper planning, you can start 'retiring' at the moment."
NTUC Income's definition of the word retire has been slammed online.
Facebook user Petrina Pang pointed to a dictionary definition, which said "retiring" means "to withdraw from office, business or active life, usually because of age".
Public relations practitioners say NTUC Income has missed a chance to apologise for the stunt gone wrong.
Said Edwin Yeo, 48, general manager of integrated communications firm SPRG Singapore: "The word 'retiring' is understood by the public at large as finality, not a journey.
"When someone says, 'I'm retiring' without any context, it is only natural that people read that as the retirement being here and now, or at least in the very near future.
"Trying to get people to think of 'retiring' as a journey to retirement is a big ask."
Michael Netzley, 49, academic director of executive development at the Singapore Management University, said: "This distinction - between 'retiring' and 'retirement' - is a limp excuse that should never have been expressed.
"They should have simply apologised and moved on. Unfortunately, they stopped short."
Said Lars Voedisch, 42, principal consultant at public relations and social media consultancy PRecious Communications: "They didn't fully address the perception they created. So people will not feel the apology is sincere."
When The Straits Times asked NTUC Income if it could have done anything differently given the backlash, Ms Fong replied: "Everything is possible on hindsight.
"We did not have that hindsight when we started."
Lim was supposed to have been present at yesterday's press conference but she was not.
She could not be reached for comment.