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Futile advertising efforts to encourage fertility

Nurfaizah Faizuwan


Published: 12 February 2016, 12:35 PM

Are tongue-in-cheek advertisements effective in Singapore?

Since Feb 1, advertisements on fertility have been put up at high traffic MRT stations and in both trains and buses for a campaign done by non-government organisation I Love Children.

However, it has received lots of attention, but not for the right reasons.

What’s going on? 

I Love Children is a voluntary welfare organisation that advocates early parenthood amongst couples.

Through their recent campaign, which involves colourful illustrations of sperms and eggs and playful slogans, I Love Children hopes to encourage couples to take on parenthood while educating them about fertility.

For instance, the advertisements at City Hall MRT station feature slogans like “Fertility is a gift with an expiry date” and “Women are born with a finite number of eggs”.

fertility ads, expiry date, city hall mrt
MANY FELT THIS CAMPAIGN WAS IGNORANT TOWARDS COUPLES WHO HAVE INFERTILITY ISSUES OR HAVE MADE THE DECISION NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN.

However, the vibrant campaign has received negative feedback on social media, with some users calling it “patronising and condescending towards all women”.

On Feb 3, Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) labelled the campaign as “tasteless badgering”, and that it was distasteful and insensitive.

early conceive, fertility, fertility ads, city hall mrt
SOME FOUND THESE ADVERTISEMENTS INTRUSIVE, AS FERTILITY IS A PRIVATE ISSUE THAT SHOULD BE DISCUSSED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. 

In response to the criticisms, I Love Children president Joni Ong said that the campaign was started to educate couples on fertility, so that they can make their own decisions on having children.

With pictures of the campaign going around on various social media platforms for its attention-grabbing slogans, this campaign has generated more buzz than its previous “safer” ads.

In 2014, I Love Children launched a campaign with a key message: “The ‘C’ money can’t buy”. Playing on the 5 ‘C’s Singaporeans are fond of chasing – condominium, credit card, country club, car and cash – the ‘C’ in the campaign refers to children.

city hall mrt, marksman, fertility ads, campaign, fertility
IF THE MESSAGE WAS CONVEYED IN A DIFFERENT MANNER, PERHAPS THIS CAMPAIGN WOULD HAVE RECEIVED PRAISES.

When asked what she thought of this advertising campaign, Nadhirah Agos, a 20-year-old applied food science and technology student from Temasek Polytechnic said: “Women already get so much pressure from their families and relatives to start a family and to see this on the commute to work or home is just too much. I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Ariel Yap, an animation student from Nanyang Polytechnic shared the same sentiment.

Ariel, 20, said: “This might have worked in the past but younger generations might react differently towards these as there are many more couples these days that have made the choice not to have children. It doesn’t matter if they’re just being cheeky or what, it’s a turn off.”

However, Galen, a media and communication student from Singapore Polytechnic had a different view.

The 20-year-old said: “I think it’s appropriate since their aim is to raise awareness and they are using significant facts to educate the public.”

What’s your take? 

  1. Do you think this fertility campaign is effective? Why?
  2. Should personal issues, such as fertility, be advertised in a cheeky manner?
  3. What’s a better way to encourage Singaporean couples to have babies?

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