WATCH: The Volkswagen & Philadeplhia Adverts Banned Over "Gender Stereotypes"

14 August 2019, 07:39

The Philadelphia advert banned over gender stereotypes
The Philadelphia advert banned over gender stereotypes. Picture: Mondelez

Adverts for Volkswagen and Philadelphia have become the first to be banned under new rules prohibiting gender stereotypes in commercials.

The new guidelines, which came into effect in June, state that ads “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.

Ella Smillie from the Fawcett Society welcomed the ASA’s precedent rulings, saying: "It’s about time advertisers woke up and stopped reinforcing lazy, outmoded gender stereotypes."

The Banned Volkswagen e-Golf Advert

The Volkswagen advert received three complaints. They were over the final scene, which showed a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram, having previously featured two male astronauts and a male para-athlete doing the long jump.

The complaints insisted the ad perpetuated gender stereotypes by showing “men engaged in adventurous activities in contrast to a woman in a care-giving role”.

Volkswagen argued their commercial made no suggestion that caregiving was uniquely associated with women, and the fact that the woman was calm and reading could be seen as going against the stereotypical depiction of “harassed or anxious parents in advertising”.

However, the Advertising Standards Agency ruled: "By juxtaposing images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities with women who appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role, we considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender."

The Banned Philadelphia TV Advert

The new advert for Philadelphia received 128 complaints, with viewers claiming it “perpetuated a harmful stereotype”.

Mondelez UK, which owns Philadelphia, argued the ad showed a “positive image of men with a responsible and active role in childcare in modern society”.

They claim they chose two dads in the advert deliberately to avoid the stereotype of new mothers shouldering the responsibility of childcare.

But the Advertising Standards Authority insisted it portrayed the men as “somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children effectively”.

Five complaints about a television ad for Nestle’s Buxton bottled water featuring a female ballet dancer, a male drummer and a male rower were not upheld.