Clock Tower advertising called disrespectful

The use of Samoa's iconic Clock Tower in the heart of Apia to promote different commercial products has come under fire as disrespectful to the monument's role as a war memorial.

The Founder of Samoa Tofia Incorporated, Taloto Obed Unasa, says the decision to rent out the monument for different companies to use to promote their products disrespects the memory of A.N.Z.A.C. war veterans. 

"The one down at Mulinu'u is the one that marks our independence but the one in town which is the clock tower, it's the monument of the World War I veterans of Samoa, those who went to assist in the A.N.Z.A.C. effort with New Zealand and Australia," Taloto said.

There are other public buildings in Apia which companies could use to market their brand and products, added Taloto who then pointed to the area in front of the Samoa Government Building, which he said could be used for that purpose. 

"Those places are okay, they are public spaces where you can actually promote adverts for businesses. I don't think monuments which are dedicated to war veterans should be the place for us to advertise our businesses and other causes," he added.

Telecommunications company, Vodafone Samoa, has used the clock tower to promote its business. The tower has also been painted pink to promote the fight against cancer.

Taloto says raising awareness on the dangers of cancer in Samoa is fine but the Clock Tower should not be the venue.

"There are places and sites where you just don't go and throw all your logos over it. This is one of those particular sites that we don't have many,” Taloto emphasised. 

“We, perhaps, only have the one A.N.Z.A.C. monument here in Apia and maybe in Samoa that has a history and has a different purpose for why it was built in the first place. It was not built so you could turn it into a billboard and then put your logos on it."

Samoa doesn’t have a lot of monuments on the islands dedicated to the A.N.Z.A.C., which Taloto argues is the reason behind his push for restrictions to be enforced around the use of the tower clock in Apia.

"We don't have ten A.N.Z.A.C. monuments here in Samoa, we have one and I think, at least we can say to our own people, let's respect that."

In response to questions from the Samoa Observer, a spokesperson from Vodafone Samoa, said: "Vodafone being a responsible organisation have followed policies and procedures and obtained it's approvals from the Government of Samoa (MCIL) to install branding on its assets temporarily - similarly to previous organisations who had branded the town clock before us."

The Samoa Cancer Society has been contacted for a comment.

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