SINGAPORE – While outdoor advertising is self-regulated by the industry, the Media Development Authority (MDA) has nonetheless stepped up the pressure on the removal of an Abercrombie & Fitch advertisement along Orchard Road.
Yesterday, the MDA voiced its support for the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), which said the ad breaches the advertising code of decency and called for its suspension.
The advertisement features a shirtless man in low-slung jeans, plastered across the American fashion retailer’s entire four-level-high shopfront at Knightsbridge Mall along Orchard Road – ruffling feathers among some members of the public who questioned whether it is vulgar.
In response to media queries yesterday, MDA director for content and standards Amy Chua reiterated that outdoor advertising here is self-regulated by the industry.
Noting that ASAS has been “playing a key role in promoting a high standard of ethics in advertising”, Ms Chua added: “We support and encourage ASAS to exercise the full weight of its industry influence to follow up and effect its decision.”
ASAS reportedly declared the suspension of the ad two weeks ago.
However, it does not have legal authority to enforce the decision.
ASAS, which draws up the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice, relies on voluntary compliance from stakeholders in the industry, such as advertisers, to observe the regulations.
ASAS chairman Tan Sze Wee told Today that they have yet to hear from Abercrombie & Fitch’s Singapore and United States offices after writing to the company on Sept 14.
With the advertisement still up, Dr Tan added: “Our next action would be to check with the Building and Construction Authority on the removal of the advertisement.”
He added that ASAS will continue to contact the company and work with “stakeholders and industry players … to remove the advertisement”.
If Abercrombie & Fitch modifies its advertisement, Dr Tan said that ASAS would treat it as a new advertisement and take action accordingly if it breaches the code’s guidelines.
He said that the authority welcomes the MDA’s support, adding: “We emphasise that it is important for stakeholders and industry players to work hand-in-hand to improve the standards of advertisements in Singapore, given that this is a self-regulated industry.”
A spokesperson from Abercrombie & Fitch reportedly said that the company is investigating the matter and is not in a position to comment at this time.