Retirement Planning Ad Gets Flamed For Negative Portrayal Of Elderly


You know how it goes with ads these days. Posting your ad on social media is a no brainer, but breaking news!

That is also THE lethal combination that will definitely open up a can of worms with a million keyboard warriors ready to “share their opinion” in the comments section.

Ok, we exaggerate.

But that’s just kindaaa how it went with two ads on retirement planning went.

Image: MemesHappen

You just can’t please the whole world, can you?

The Promise by NTUC Income


Launched on 5 September 2019, this video ad has received considerable flak for being insensitive, and for the poor representation of the older generation.

TLDW (Too Long, Didn’t Watch): The video shows a man sandwiched between the demands of his parents and his own family, where he needed to give them the best. In giving one side the best, he had to shortchange the other, which seemingly made him feel stressed about his finances.

While the video was well-received by the public in general, how the son’s father behaved did not sit well with some.

The father was portrayed as being demanding for the best and questioning his son’s decisions. For example, asking the male lead (his son) why he did not get a bigger car because it could not fit all their things.

Image: MemesHappen

Definitely not the best way to portray someone, whether or not they are of the elder generation.

Nonetheless, NTUC Income Chief Marketing Officer, Marcus Chew, shared that “the dramatisation is intended to move the audience to reflect on their own personal circumstances and to drive conversations on matters that are important but not discussed as frequently or openly”.

There are always two sides to a coin. Take a chill pill guys. We don’t need to have an opinion on everything, do we?

Image: Giphy

Tsk by Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board

Image: Facebook (CPF Board)

Posted on CPF’s Facebook Page on 6 August 2019, this ad has received notable backlash.

Called out for its stereotypical portrayal of the elderly in Singapore, the ad showed people of the older generation going “tsk” at a young man on a bus.

PSA for the oblivious: “tsk” is the sound of disapproval, usually accompanied with some eye-rolling action. It is used in situations such as:

Image: Giphy

You get the drift.


The ad included a lady giggling at the “tsk” reactions of the older generation, and the video ends with the lady getting off the bus and going “tsk” at the young man who got in her way too.

The ad then ends with “1 in 2 Singaporeans live beyond 85. You might be one and ‘tsk’ others too.” This is to encourage Singaporeans to begin planning for retirement early.

While a focused group agreed that the message resonated with them, some netizens felt that this was a poor stereotype of the elder generation in Singapore.

Sigh. So hard to please everyone, eh?

This is going to be the life of advertising companies from now.

Image: Meme Generator

Just kidding.