Insurance ad portraying gravely ill patients as burdens slammed as 'distasteful'

PHOTO: Insurance ad portraying gravely ill patients as burdens slammed as 'distasteful'

SINGAPORE - A television commercial with the tagline 'your family is affected by your illness' has raised concerns that it suggests that gravely ill patients are a burden to their families.

A contributor to citizen journalism site Stomp said that the ad is 'distasteful' for those who have such patients in their households.

The ad by NTUC Income shows three people who talk about their illnesses. A man says he 'suffers from' ovarian cancer, a young girl talks about dementia while a woman talks about prostate cancer.

The implication is that these are family members of those with serious illnesses, as they themselves cannot suffer from these diseases.

Stomp contributor Hui wrote in to say: "Have you seen the latest NTUC Income free-to-air TV ad on Vivocare 100?

"It can be quite distasteful to those who have patients in their household.

"Yes, it educates the public on the importance of an insurance policy should such a fate befall you.

"However, apparently those who came up with the communication message and those who approved it have never fallen under such circumstances.

"Put yourself in a patient's shoes. How will you feel when you are suffering from a terminal illness and you keep seeing this ad playing on tv?

"Even if it does not get to you the first time, it drills in after subsequent times.

"You'll start to feel depressed, demoralised, thinking you are a burden to your family. This will only get them down further.

"A negative mindset definitely does not do wonders for an illness, not to mention a terminal illness.

"Then the treatment just drags on, the payment just goes on.

"There is a cap to each insurance policy as well. How much will the insurance cover?

"One will just have to add on riders to ensure more is covered. It's a vicious cycle.

"Should they want to communicate the importance of an insurance policy, instead of using such a communication message to instill fear of burden in patients (which honestly is an underhanded method), they could use more tasteful ways to do it.

"Should patients see it and feel depressed, thinking they are a burden to their families, and become suicidal, I wonder how they can take responsibility for it. Or to be correct, if they ever take responsibility for it."

What do you think about the ad? Clever marketing or distasteful? Tell us in the comments section below:

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