Ad Nut
Jun 1, 2020

NTUC FairPrice has a message for Singapore as circuit breaker lifts

Singapore’s supermarket chain puts out an idealistic ad about ‘values learned’ during the lockdown period. But part of the story is missing.

Today, Singapore’s lockdown—or circuit breaker—to contain the spread of the coronavirus is lifted. Some businesses are allowed to operate while workplaces and schools remain closed. As life cautiously re-opens, the situation is still far from ‘normal’.

In a new campaign by Iris, NTUC FairPrice urges residents to continue the “values they’ve discovered” during the two-month lockdown period, and to carry out these values as a “fresh start” begins. These values include connecting with loved ones and recalibrating priorities in life.

This is all very well in theory, but the language in certain parts of the ad indicates that these values override all other things in life. Ad Nut has said it before and will say it again: There’s no need to demonise social media, the world outside of family, and material things as forces of evil. 

That's overly simplistic. “Catching up on trends” and “spending quality time with loved ones” are not mutually exclusive, and to morally lift one up over the other comes across as overly righteous—and likely to fall flat with consumers who have a more nuanced view.

Plus, aside from a small tribute to domestic helpers, the ad fails to recognise that COVID-19 in Singapore has disproportionately affected a specific segment of frontliners: migrant workers, many of whom remain isolated in dormitories in poor living conditions.

Within the migrant community, this lockdown period has likely been associated with trauma and struggle rather than “values learned” and “reconnecting with loved ones”. To some, choosing to shut away “what’s out there” is a privilege, but to affected migrant workers, being away from their families and worrying about day-to-day costs are part of an everyday reality that they are forced to reckon with.

Some people aren’t afforded a “fresh start”.


Regional CEO: Luke Nathans
Managing Director: Andy Cairns
Executive Creative Director: Ed Cheong
Creative Director: Cheng Shu Yau
Senior Art Director: Uni Lee
Art Director: Carmen Ang
Copywriter: Darren Tan
Planning Director: James Honda-Pinder
Planner: Rui Si Lim
Group Account Director: Gurmit Singh
Head of Integrated Production: Denise Decruz
Head of TV Production: Michelle Tan
Producer: Caroline Frances Editor: Pamella Ang

Iris PR
Head of PR: Rahat Kapur
Lead PR Consultant: Madhavi Tumkur

Media partner
Havas Media  

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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