Anti-gambling ad that drew criticism updated

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) has acted quickly to save its blushes following Germany's victory in the World Cup final yesterday morning.

A modified version of its anti- gambling commercial greets visitors to its website following Germany's 1-0 win over Argentina.

Its original advertisement, which was widely ridiculed last week, featured a boy named Andy lamenting to his friends that all of his savings were used by his father to bet on Germany.

In the new version, Andy's friend is pictured asking him: "Your dad's team won. Did you get your savings back?" Andy replies: "No, dad never stops... He wants to bet one more time."

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck noted on Facebook yesterday: "Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup! Andy, OK you can stop smiling. Go get your savings from your Daddy, tell him please don't do this again, and you get ready for school."

The modified ad drew mixed reviews from netizens. Some felt that it was a weak attempt to save what was a disastrous campaign. But there were also those who lauded the change.

"Smart! Real smart and clever way to drive home the message! It is not about winning or losing, it is the fact that it never stops," said Mr Joseph Wong on The Straits Times' website.

The jibes made at the original commercial reached fever pitch after Germany's 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semi-final, and the ad was even picked up by international media including the United States' The Wall Street Journal and British newspaper The Guardian, as well as talkshow host Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show.

The NCPG has been steadfast in defending the ad.

A spokesman said yesterday: "NCPG's central message is that problem gambling causes harm to individuals and their loved ones, regardless of the nature and outcome of the bet.

"As the campaign progressed, we took the opportunity to reinforce the fact that problem gamblers find it hard to stop, regardless of the outcome of any single bet."

This article was first published on July 15, 2014.
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