Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, but in Singapore it seems, too much sexy can be dangerous – especially when it comes to advertisements!
A Straits Times video report by Imelda Saad featured a 43 year old Singaporean mother of four, airing her beliefs that sexy ads can lead people to commit sex crimes.
Why is she saying this and why is she being interviewed by the press? It started last week, when the woman, who was obviously aware of the recent ‘high profile’ spate of sex crimes reported by the Singapore media, was so appalled by a particular outdoor ad at the Tampines bus interchange, she felt compelled to write in to the Straits Times hinting at a link between such sexy ads and sex crimes.
She wrote, “One example is a gigantic poster of a scantily clad girl in a compromising pose, strategically placed to catch the eye of disembarking passengers, at the Tampines bus interchange. Some of these ads are in poor taste and some people may find them offensive. It is time the authorities came up with stricter regulations on the display of such provocative ads in public places, as well as in magazines and newspapers.
As the Chinese proverb goes, 'Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.' Let us not underestimate the influence of such images on the minds of our youth”.
She went on to say, in her video interview, that “too much of these images may culminate in them committing sexual crimes…I am certain of that”.
My first instincts are to start thrashing and bagging on her comments, because I always feel Singapore is way too conservative as it is, and as an adult, it is insulting to watch a movie already filtered through the rating systems but yet is still censored (it’s like saying you have to be at least 21 to see this movie but your mind is less capable of handling it than other 21 year olds watching in Australia so we’ll still censor it for you).
This moves us on to some of the interesting reasons on why she is upset – sexed up movie content unlike the outdoor ad, can have a controlled targeted audience, whereas, anyone walking through the crowded bus interchange is bound to see the ‘offending’ ad, young and old alike. So can or should there be stricter content restrictions for OOH mediums around Singapore? Would that make Singapore a bit of a joke to the rest of the Ad World? Do a majority of Singaporeans share the same negative vibe from seeing a pair of oversize mammary glands on a billboard?
Judging from the brief VOX pop in the video report, there are clearly those (young males included) who feel such provocative ads are a cause for concern on impressionable youths.
A point the woman stressed to Imelda Saad saying, “My son is 13 years old, I mean he is so innocent and so pure, and yes someday he may have to see, I mean I am not trying to fence him in but I don’t need him too, well he’s 13 years old and he’s gonna be excited about things and he will not understand what this is but he’s gonna feel excited and it may get him curious about pornography and it just is something that I feel is very objectionable,”.
I think despite this woman’s sincere concerns, there’s nothing wrong with sexy ads but of course a ‘fine line’ needs to be clearly defined between that and blatant pornography. Graphic media can have an effect on influencing maniacs to commit sex crimes, I agree with that, but it’s not the root cause. Imagine how boring the world would be if not just ads, but all forms of media were filtered and censored on the premise that a psychopath could maybe react to it.