Media Brand Safety Brand Purpose

The Straits Times apologizes for brand safety oversight on front page print ad

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By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

July 21, 2021 | 3 min read

Singapore-based medicated oil brand Axe Brand has apologised for its ad that ran on the front page of The Straits Times’ print edition alongside the headline news of a student being tragically killed by an axe.

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The advertisement was arranged and booked in December 2020 with The Straits Times.

The headline story in The Straits Times on July 21 was about a secondary one student in River Valley High School being murdered by a secondary four student with the headline “Sec 1 student allegedly killed by Sec 4 student “.

At the bottom of the front page was an ad by Axe Brand promoting its medicated oil products.

What happened?

  • The brand released a statement on Facebook saying the advertisement placement was not intentional, but “a very unfortunate coincidence”.

  • It said the advertisement was arranged and booked in December 2020 with The Straits Times.

  • Axe Brand added it was in deep sympathy and grief with the victim’s family.

  • The Straits Times apologised for the incident the next day, saying the “juxtaposition was inadvertent and unfortunate, in the light of the tragic incident.”

  • The newspaper added the ad had been “booked in advance of news development”.

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