MCCY Deems Lee Kuan Yew Image On Yeo’s Drinks ‘Respectful’
Food and beverage (F&B) brand Yeo’s came under fire recently over their usage of the image of the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew on special drink packets.
Many netizens accused the brand of exploiting Mr Lee’s image for commercial gain.
In parliament, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan said that the ministry deemed the usage ‘respectful’.
Mr Tan also advised the public to dispose of the special drink packets appropriately.
Yeo’s comes under fire for Lee Kuan Yew drink packets
As 2023 is Mr Lee’s 100th birth anniversary, all kinds of commemorations came out in full force. For example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) minted a legal tender S$10 coin, which an influencer attempted to use as payment.
Meanwhile, popular local F&B brand Yeo’s unveiled a drink packet with Mr Lee’s face on it. They eschewed their usual brand colours for a green theme, with the words “Garden City, Vision to Reality” on the packaging.
Netizens criticised the move, viewing it as using Mr Lee’s image as a “cheap endorsement”.
Another accused Yeo’s of exploiting the late Mr Lee for commercial gain. In response, the brand responded on Facebook that the special drinks would be given away for free and not put up for sale.
They further explained that Yeo’s intended to celebrate Mr Lee’s vision in turning Singapore into a garden city, and not for marketing.
Alvin Tan says that usage of image is respectful
The controversy even reached the Parliament session today (3 Oct). Sembawang MP Poh Li San asked if the usage of Mr Lee’s image falls within the guidelines for the use of his name and image.
Responding to the query, Mr Tan first confirmed Yeo’s claim that they had consulted MCCY on the usage of Mr Lee’s image.
According to the MCCY’s guidelines, the name and image of Mr Lee should not be used for commercial or publicity purposes. Additionally, it should not suggest any kind of official endorsement of products or services.
Mr Tan stated that MCCY assessed Yeo’s’ usage of Mr Lee’s image as “respectful”, as the intent was to highlight his contribution in turning Singapore into a garden city.
Furthermore, Yeo’s distributed the drinks free of charge rather than sell them commercially. Thus, Mr Tan stated that the brand did not break the guidelines.
Public advised to dispose of packets appropriately
Ms Poh then further asked how MCCY would ensure no disrespect towards Mr Lee with such products. She pointed out that the packets with his image would be disposed of into trash bins or as litter.
Replying to her question, Mr Tan advised the public to dispose of the drinks in an “appropriate and responsible manner”.
He added that MCCY was open to public feedback for future consideration.
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