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Singapore Press Holdings to advertisers: We will not accept Lee Kuan Yew tribute ads

The Straits Times today

Today’s edition of Straits Times

Singapore Press Holdings, the publisher of Singapore’s biggest circulating newspaper The Straits Times, has written to advertisers and agencies to inform them that the paper will not be accepting any ads that pay tribute to Lew Kuan Yew, the citystate’s former prime minster, at the request of the Lee family.

SPH shared the letter with Mumbrella this afternoon after it emerged that agencies had been preparing messages of tribute to Singapore’s founding father to run as advertisements in the event of his passing.

In the memo, the media company said that it would otherwise “be business as usual for advertising in SPH newspapers and other platforms”. Media agencies had suggested that Singapore’s mainstream media would run ad-free in respect of the former prime minster, who is critically ill in hospital.

SPH’s letter reads in full:

To: CEOs, Media Directors and Managers

Tribute Advertisements to Mr Lee Kuan Yew

We have received many queries with regards to advertisements containing tributes or references to Mr Lee Kuan Yew. We wish to inform all that at the request of the family, SPH will not be accepting all such advertisements.

Apart from this, it will be business as usual for advertising in SPH newspapers and other platforms. We will continue to work closely with all clients, agencies and partners to meet your need. Thank you for your understanding.

Our colleagues at the Customer Service Department will be happy to assist you should you require clarification and details.

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Leslie Fong
Senior Executive Vice President
Marketing and Digital Divisions
Singapore Press Holdings Limited

Mumbrella was told today that advertisers planning to run messages of respect are mostly local brands, ranging from financial services providers to consumer goods companies.

However, ad agencies said that they were finding it difficult to source images of Lee, since only images for editorial use were available.

Some brands plan to pay tribute with images of the former prime minister on their websites and in social media, one agency boss said today.

Lee’s death was prematurely reported by CNN and other foreign news outlets yesterday based on an announcement that Lee Kuan Yew had died from a fake government website. Police are investigating the matter.

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