07/10/2014 09:30 | By TODAY

NCPG to continue with anti-gambling World Cup ad

NCPG says the campaign is a timely reminder not to get carried away in the excitement and hype of the World Cup.

NCPG to continue with anti-gambling World Cup ad

SINGAPORE: It has been a recurring feature of the World Cup, like the scintillating football, but an advertisement warning against problem gambling has sparked much hilarity online - and in the international media - after Germany handed the Brazilian hosts a 7-1 thrashing yesterday (July 9).

The ad, which features a group of children discussing their picks for the World Cup, ends on a poignant note when one boy, Andy, reveals the reason he wants Germany to win: “Because my dad bet all my savings on them.”

After yesterday’s shock semi-final result, there was no shortage of wisecracks praising the father’s choice bet or toting up his potential winnings should Germany go on to win the final.

However, the National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG), which commissioned the ad, has no intention of changing or yanking it.

An NCPG spokesperson said: “We are not pulling ... the advertisement. I do not see why we should.”

Created by local advertising agency Goodfellas, the commercial started airing on July 5 and is scheduled to run till July 23. As part of a campaign, it is being screened on television and in cinemas along with print ads and posters at bus stops and coffee shops.

The spokesperson said the campaign was a timely reminder not to get carried away in the excitement and hype of the World Cup. “The focus of the (television commercial) highlights how those close to the gambler are adversely affected by problem gambling and not who eventually wins the World Cup,” she said.

She added that the choice of Germany “injected a sense of realism in our messaging, since no one will bet on a potentially losing team”.

“At the end of the day, win or lose, the dangers of problem gambling, and the potential anxiety and pain that loved ones go through, remain unchanged,” the spokesperson said.

The commercial prompted a flood of memes online. One by blogger Lee Kin Mun ran with the caption “Always trust your father. #GER 7 : #BRA 1”. Others featured taglines such as “Daddy why you no go buy any other score (AOS)” (sic) and “You should have taken Mummy’s savings too”.

Even local politicians could not help but notice the irony. “Bad timing,” Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin wrote on Facebook. “Looks like the boy’s father who bet all his savings on Germany will be laughing all the way to the bank!”

Also writing on Facebook, Minister of State (Trade and Industry) Teo Ser Luck said: “Brazil need to find out what went wrong and I need to find the scriptwriter for the gambling control advertisement.” Mr Teo later commented that he was injecting a dose of humour after a “depressing 7-1 outcome”. “But let’s not lose the message ok? NCPG has done its job,” he said.

However, some such as Mr Jose Raymond, chief executive officer of the Singapore Environment Council, said: “The NCPG should consider stopping the use of this ad, or edit its content somewhat ... (If not,) the message which NCPG is trying to get across would become totally (counter) to its original intent and may end up giving problem gamblers more reason to do what the ad was actually trying to stop them from doing.”



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