There's a sweet melody to the folksy ballad that accompanies this coming-of-age tale from Singaporean insurer Income, but the lyrics contain bitter truths about the pressures women face. "Before I was 20 I was told I was fat, that nice ladies don't dress like that, that a salad for lunch was plenty," croons Singaporean pop artist Tanya Chua in the ad's original song, before breaking into a weary-sounding chorus of "blah blah blah."
It's a Singaporean take on the global wave of ads with feminist themes. The ending is upbeat: Though the heroine has to contend with a lot of double standards and pressures, she creates a more positive environment for her own daughter. The video is part of an integrated campaign from BBH Singapore promoting Income's new benefits for women, such as reimbursements of egg-freezing before chemotherapy or radiotherapy to treat cancer. The ad's tagline is "Times Have Changed. Insurance Should Too."
The spot opens with the heroine as a small girl; she's wearing a torn, dirt-stained ballet uniform and getting scolded by her mom for playing rough with the boys. The ad chronicles the expectations she faces at different ages, from being told to wash the dishes while her brother watches TV, to being encouraged to marry before she hits her "expiration date." Later, when she's a mother herself, she has a chance to break the cycle of stereotypes. Her daughter appears in a soccer uniform ripped at the shoulder, an echo of the opening scene. Instead of scolding her daughter, she smiles.