'Worst parents in the world' video was aimed at challenging mindsets, says NTUC Income

SINGAPORE - Many people would find someone publicly calling his father and mother "the worst parents in the world" upsetting and even painful to watch.

But one company decided to incorporate this into a commercial, with a twist that ended up touching many people.

Part of an advertising campaign by insurance company NTUC Income, the commercial was uploaded on the company's Facebook page last Thursday (Aug 30).

Many netizens found the video, titled The Best Gift For Your Child, touching and heartwarming, with some even saying it brought them to tears.

It has been watched by over 5.1 million people and shared by over 90,000 people across various channels, including Facebook and YouTube.

The video is set in a wedding banquet and centres around the groom giving a speech to his parents.

He begins by seemingly criticising his parents, calling them "the worst parents in the world" and talking about how he missed out on a number of things in his childhood, such as piano lessons, trips to distant getaways and proper tuition classes - all of which his friends got.

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Midway in this speech, however, the groom reveals that he is in fact grateful for the way his parents raised him, saying: "Had you given me everything I wanted back then, I wouldn't have everything I can have now."

He ends by saying that because his parents saved for their retirement, this allowed him and his wife to "focus on the steps (they'd) like to take" in their new lives together.

The video, which was created with creative agency BBH Singapore,was a commercial encouraging retirement planning.

Many netizens praised the clip, with one saying that it was "the only ad I didn't skip... Best 4 minutes of my life".

Planning for the commercial began in May and concluded three months later in August. The video itself was directed by Mr Roslee Yusof of Freeflow Productions and shot over three days.

Mr Marcus Chew, chief marketing officer at NTUC Income, told The Straits Times on Monday that the inspiration for the video came from a recent Nielsen research study commissioned by NTUC Income. Released last Monday, it covered more than 400 parents aged between 30 and 55, and some 200 young people between the ages of 19 and 25.

Mr Chew said: "The study confirmed our hunch that parents were motivated to prioritise their children's future over theirs and would continue to do so.

"Children also foresaw downgrading their lifestyles, making career-related sacrifices and even delaying their marriage to help financially support their retired parents, as many expressed low confidence that their parents were retirement ready."

Mr Chew said that the tension between the two sets of desires inspired the creative concept behind the commercial.

A wedding speech was chosen as the setting for the video because it "offered a natural context for a child to openly speak about and express feelings about their parents or families".

Mr Chew said that the commercial was intended to challenge the notion of what "best" meant, and get viewers to reflect if being financially secure in retirement could in fact be the "best gift" that parents can offer to their children.

Acknowledging the unique style of the commercial, he said: "In playing differently...we intend to engage our target audience and spark off conversations and encourage Singaporeans to think more deeply about their retirement plans."

He added that different families face different circumstances and considerations.

"Every parent naturally wants the best for their children, and no parent should be considered a 'bad' one," he said.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.