Army regulars are trophy boyfriends

From ‘ Much ado over SAF’s trophy boyfriend ad’, 24 Nov 2010, article by Kenny Chee, My Paper

A NEW Singapore Armed Forces recruitment TV commercial has baffled some Singaporeans and tickled others – for better or worse.

It depicts a woman gushing over her new boyfriend, who is an army scholar, to two companions. In the 45-second clip, she praises him for being “smart”, “outgoing” and “on a scholarship”. She says he “works for this huge organisation”, “gets to travel” and “always has time for me”.

…A netizen griped about the ad on citizen- journalism website Stomp. She asked: “Is it to ‘market’ army regulars as a ‘good catch’ for Singaporean girls, as if he’s a trophy boyfriend?”

Mr Adam Chan, managing director of ad agency AvenueOne, called the completely soft-sell angle “refreshing” but thinks it “isn’t going to work because this is the army”.

He said: “The reality is that the army is tough. The new ads seem contrived because they try to create a corporate image that the army is modern, without blood and guts.”

Ms Pat Law, managing director of social- influence marketing agency Goodstuph, feels the message is unclear. “Are the ads promoting the desire to serve for a higher purpose? Or are they promoting the superficial glamour of a career that will leave girls gushing?” she asked.

She singled out the boyfriend ad for its lack of understanding of its target audience.

She said: “It is unrealistic and a little demeaning to the potential soldier who wants to serve the country… I cannot imagine a guy signing up with the army so as to obtain his girlfriend’s and her friends’ approval.”

Not only does the ad insult the military by reducing the blood and guts image of dirty, rugged soldiers to  saccharine sweet, devoted boyfriends who join their girlfriends and BFFs for high tea, but it also depicts women as brawn-loving, OMG-dy, fawning twits who, in this modern day and age, still have romantic notions about badge and rank like how people used to swoon over long haired drummers of 80’s rock bands. It also doesn’t help that the ad is infuriatingly gimmicky with the redundant use of handycam, raising the army mysticism to a whole new level of cringeworthy Sweet Valley High proportions.

With no guns, mud, grit, or throbbing Terminator music, this is pedestrian fairy tale fluff that is so over the hill that even six-year olds who have been exposed to the real modern day Prince Charming in the form of vampires and other man-beasts, would scoff at the sheer audacity to market military men in their starched, over decorated uniforms as objects of shallow desire using nothing less than badly scripted bimbo banter. We’re used to recruitment videos exaggerating the valour and globetrotting of our Navy and NSmen, but to lure our boys into thinking that uniforms have the power to trigger amorous teenybopper hysteria and hence lots of sex is pure deception. To shatter the myth of the soldier as perfect boyfriend further, all you need to do is catch some of our boys pants down at brothels overseas. So much for ‘gets to travel’, eh?


2 Responses

  1. ditsy floozy women. singapore army tryin too hard to jerk up the masculinity of their boys via fictitious scenario of airheads with ‘babarella’ accents doing exaggerated swooning over some government scholar in uniform. hmm so join army = join dating agency?

    Personal side note: army scholars are painful to hear during interviews.

    n yeah editor, jealous he ‘gets to travel’ from tampines to ulu tuas base?

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