A cheeky advertisement that raised eyebrows has been removed, after the eatery that put it up was ordered to do so by the advertising watchdog here.
The large billboard ad, featuring three scantily clad women exposing their buttocks, was put up by OverEasy Orchard, an eatery that is taking over the space occupied formerly by Wendy's at Liat Towers. Beside the image was the tagline: "Seriously sexy buns. Two are better than one. Smack that. Aug 2015."
The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) ordered the eatery to remove the ad as it was deemed indecent and in breach of the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP), an ASAS spokesman told The Straits Times in response to queries.
The code states that "advertisements should not contain anything that is offensive to the standards of decency prevailing among those who are likely to be exposed to them". The decision, ASAS said, was made on July 14 and OverEasy was told on the same day.
"A check has confirmed that the advertisement has been removed," said the spokesman, who added that there were four complaints that the advertisement was indecent.
When contacted, lifestyle company The Lo & Behold Group, which runs OverEasy and other restaurants, said that the ad was meant "to celebrate the female form" and that it intended to showcase OverEasy's "characteristic cheekiness and irreverence".
"The Lo & Behold Group apologises for how our advertisement might have made women feel," said a spokesman for the group.
She added that the marketing for OverEasy, including the ad's design, was done by an all-woman team. "To us, it is about women feeling sexy and confident in their own skins." She said the phrase "lo & behold" has long been used colloquially to introduce something distinctive and impactful.
The restaurant, she said, is scheduled to open on Aug 3.
Mr Mark Lionel, who manages food and beverage consultancy BarSmiths, said: "Ultimately, sex sells. If the point of the advertisement was to get people to raise eyebrows, to create buzz, it worked."
However, he wondered if it would actually be effective in getting people to patronise the restaurant. "That is what you ultimately want and, very often, with something like this, people will just remember the ad but not the restaurant that it was advertising for."
Of the four women ST spoke with, two were against the ad but the other two did not mind it.
Madam Raja Lachimi, 55, a housewife who has an 18-year-old daughter, said that such advertisements were "embarrassing" and "objectify women".
She said: "That's one reason I don't take my daughter to Orchard Road. There are unsavoury locations there such as Orchard Towers and there are advertisements like the one at OverEasy."
"I don't think my daughter is ready for such ugly sights. I am happy they took it down," she added.
But another woman, teacher Chua Ping Wei, 31, said : "I thought the ad was quite smart and it definitely grabbed my attention."
This article was first published on July 23, 2015.
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