United Kingdom bans advertisements over gender stereotypes

The Advertising Standards Authority banned the ads for a cream cheese called Philadelphia and a vehicle by Volkswagen following complaints.

Published: 14th August 2019 08:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2019 08:45 PM   |  A+A-

UK flag

For representational purposes (File Photo | AFP)


LONDON: The UK's advertising standards watchdog has banned two television ads that it said breached new norms against gender stereotyping put in place to prevent reinforcing outdated views of male and female roles.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the ads for a cream cheese called Philadelphia and a vehicle by Volkswagen following complaints from the public that they perpetuated harmful stereotypes.

In the cream cheese advert, two new fathers were shown eating lunch at a restaurant where food circulates on a conveyor belt.

While chatting they accidentally find their babies are circulated away on it.

The ad ends with the tag-line: "Let's not tell mum".

And, the advert for Volkswagen's electric eGolf vehicle showed a series of scenes including a man and a woman in a tent on a sheer cliff face, two male astronauts, a male para-athlete and a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram.

The tagline read: “When we learn to adapt we can achieve anything.”

The complaints centred around harmful stereotyping, suggesting men were incapable of caring for children and would put them at risk as a result of their incompetence and that it was men, rather than women, who engaged in more adventurous activities.

The ASA concluded that the advertisements “reinforced the idea that men were ineffective childcarers” and presented gender stereotypes in a way that was “likely to cause harm”.

Mondelez, the company behind the cream cheese, told the ASA it had specifically chosen two fathers to avoid depicting the stereotypical image of two mothers handling the childcare responsibilities of a young baby and Volkswagen also objected to say its advert was not sexist.

Under new rules that came into effect in June, advertisements in the UK "must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence".

However, critics believe their interpretation may be too draconian.

"We are naturally disappointed. The ASA's interpretation of the ads against the new rule and guidance goes further than we anticipated and has implications for a wide range of ads,” said Clearcast, the body responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast in the UK.

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