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Bummed out over cheeky billboard

ATTENTION-GRABBING: This advertisement at Liat Towers in Orchard Road is considered offensive by some, while others say it is creative.


    Jul 09, 2015

    Bummed out over cheeky billboard

    AN EATERY opening its second outlet in Orchard Road is raising eyebrows with its advertisement.

    OverEasy Orchard, which is taking over the 3,500 sq ft space formerly occupied by Wendy's at Liat Towers, put up a large billboard featuring three scantily-clad women exposing their buttocks.

    Beside the image is the tagline: "Seriously sexy buns. Two are better than one. Smack that, Aug 2015."

    The New Paper (TNP) reader Susanna Loh, who passed by the advertisement last weekend, wrote in to say that she was "terribly offended".

    "As an independent, modern woman, I take great offence with this image. Not only does this highly sexual image objectify women, but it also promotes a false perception of beauty," she said.

    "Besides, Orchard Road is a place where families with kids hang out, and these graphics of bare buttocks and slogans like 'seriously sexy buns' and 'smack that' are clearly inappropriate for the young."

    Of the 115 people polled by TNP and who were aged between 15 and 77, 79 found the advertisement offensive.

    Among them was 31-year-old nurse Sri Durga, who felt the advertisement was insulting to women. She questioned what the billboard was trying to advertise.

    "If it's swimwear, it's appropriate. If it's food, it's redundant," she said.

    Many said the ad was effective in grabbing attention.

    Student Jerald Chan, 27, said that while he found the ad blatantly sexist and distasteful, he did not think it flouted any law.

    "Unfortunately, sex sells and such marketing tactics tend to work, no matter how crude," he said.

    Some argued that the ad was creative and even tongue-in-cheek.

    Media director Ivan Lim said he loved the ad. He added: "There's a twist to it to see if you view it sexually or between the lines. Singapore media authorities are very strict. A little leeway will encourage more innovative advertisements and art."

    Singapore's advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (Asas), said it was looking into the matter.

    Established in 1976, Asas relies on voluntary compliance from industry stakeholders such as advertisers and media owners. It flexes its muscles by getting media owners, which are members of the Asas council, to withhold ads that flout the rules.

    Asas chairman Tan Sze Wee said: "Asas is following up with the advertiser for its clarification on the advertisement, in order to ascertain if it has infringed the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (Scap).

    "Advertisers may be asked to revise their advertisements, failing which, then to withdraw them altogether to avoid contravening the Scap."

    Lifestyle company The Lo & Behold Group, which runs OverEasy and other restaurants, apologised for the advertisement making some women feel offended.

    Its spokesman said: "The advertisement is meant to celebrate the female form with OverEasy's characteristic cheekiness and irreverence.

    "All of our marketing is done in-house by an all-girl team. To us, it is about women feeling sexy and confident in their own skins."


    Additional reporting by Tania Valensia