Some property agencies marketing overseas real estate to Singaporeans have begun revising their ads to comply with recent changes to Singapore’s Code of Advertising Practice, reported Channel NewsAsia.
“We are now having to, for example, justify why the returns on investment is 5.5 percent,” said Century 21’s Chief Executive Officer Ku Swee Yong.
Although the new rules can help guide the industry, there are still some constraints for advertisers marketing foreign properties. For instance, it’s hard to show the investors’ net return as the income tax varies per individual.
“In that case, we take away the statement of return on investment (ROI). But then that makes the advertisement less attractive than it would be,” Ku shared.
“So perhaps companies with larger advertising budgets might take up more space in order to attach fine prints to justify the ROI, or perhaps companies might in fact downsize their budget on mainstream media and do more email blast or brochure handouts and direct mailers.”
Amendments to the rules, undertaken by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS), aims to tackle speculative, misleading and unproven claims in ads. They came into effect on 12 August, but advertisers and media firms were given a three-month grace period to abide with the changes.
According to CASE Executive Director Seah Seng Choon, companies that flout the rules “run the risk of advertising space and time being withheld by media owners. They may even risk the withholding of trading privileges by advertisers”. In serious cases, the reputation of the company involved may also be affected.
CASE will also take action if they contravene the Consumer Protection Fair Trading Act.
“We can invite the company to sign a voluntary compliance agreement. If they decline, we can proceed to take an injunction against them to stop them from continuing with misleading advertisements,” Seah added.