Tsk, tsk: CPF ad on retirement planning slammed for portraying seniors as grumpy, irritable commuters

The CPF video was accompanied by the caption: “Old age has a way of pulling up out of nowhere. Maybe it’s time to start planning for your retirement.”
Facebook screengrab

An online video by Singapore’s Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) is being tsk-ed for portraying senior citizens as grumpy and irritable bus commuters.

In the 30-second video uploaded to Facebook about on August 6, a young man is seen boarding a bus and unintentionally annoying elderly commuters by commenting loudly on a game he is playing on his mobile phone.

Facebook screengrab

One woman notices that the seniors are making “tsk, tsk” sounds as they give the oblivious young man looks of disapproval.

Facebook screengrab

Amused, she smirks to herself.

Facebook screengrab

However, when it was time for her to exit the bus, she found herself feeling annoyed by the young man, who had walked in front of her. And just as she gave a loud “tsk”, she realised she was reacting just like the seniors she laughed at earlier.

Facebook screengrab

The video, which is tiled “Tsk”, then displays a message saying that one in two Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 85 years. “You might be one and ‘tsk’ others too,” it added.

A caption accompanying the video read: “Old age has a way of pulling up out of nowhere. Maybe it’s time to start planning for your retirement.”

The message, however, did not go down well with netizens who watch the video.

One Facebook user, Mohamad Syahid Bin Arif, appealed for CPF to remove the video entirely. “CPF, better take down tis ad…. It doesnt reflect well on the seniors and future seniors,” he wrote.

Another netizen, Wendy Sim, wrote: “This is not the way to promote retirement planning. I find it distastefully done. The tsk thing portrays seniors in a bad light.

Some people also said that the meaning of the message was completely lost on them.

Facebook screengrabs


According to The Straits Times (ST), the board has responded to feedback, saying it would “strive to improve how we convey our messages in future“.

A spokesman from CPF Board told Business Insider that it had done message testing with a range of Singaporeans before releasing the video, and the feedback then was that the ad was relatable.

“A good number of our focus group respondents found that the messages of people living longer, and therefore needing to plan early for retirement, resonated with them. The light-hearted treatment of the TV commercial was also easy to relate to.

“Since the launch, while some viewers may not have received the TV commercial positively, others felt that the TV commercial was memorable and made them realise the importance of planning for their retirement,” the spokesman said.

You can watch the video here:

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