03 March 2012


I found this ad on Mr Brown's blog today. The famous Singapore blogger is a parent of an autistic child, and he was 'deeply offended' by this ad from a government agency.

As a parent of a disabled child and an advertising copywriter, so am I.

It is the oldest trick in the (ad) book: Write an attention-grabbing headline. And then pay it off with the intended message, in small font size.

But in this case, the people entrusted with coming up with the layout and the words, failed to grasp the nature of the subject matter and the 'labeling' effect it has on the people it is proclaiming to help. The other ads in the campaign use words like "Abandoned", "Future destroyed" and "Life Ruined".

Headlines are essentially a 'point of view' of the advertiser. And in this case, reflects poorly on the sensitivity and taste of the government agency in question (MCYS).

We who are given the license to wield the pen in public have the obligation to use that power with utmost care and caution.