Asda Christmas ad cleared by advertising watchdog
An Asda advertisement featuring a woman making frantic preparations for her familys Christmas has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority after 600 people complained that it was sexist.
The TV ad showed a mother carrying out various tasks in preparation for Christmas, such as buying a Christmas tree, writing Christmas cards, purchasing groceries, decorating the home, wrapping presents and cooking the Christmas dinner. The voice-over at the end of the ad stated, "It doesn’t just happen by magic. Behind every great Christmas, there's mum, and behind mum there’s Asda."
The ASA received a number of complaints about the advert, the majority of which claimed it was offensive and sexist because it reinforced outdated stereotypes of men and women in the home. Other complainants said the ad was likely to cause offence to single fathers or to men who played a primary domestic role, and that it was distressing to children or families who had lost mothers.
Asda said that whilst it appreciated the role of mother and father differed between households, it intended to portray a scene which reflected the Christmas experience of the majority of their customers. It also pointed out that the father played a positive role: helping with preparations; hosting the family; and looking after the children.
Asda acknowledged that there may be incidental circumstances in which a child or family member could be upset by the loss of a loved one. However, it believed the ad portrayed an informed and representative view of Christmas events.
The ASA concluded that the ad was not likely to be seen as condoning or encouraging harmful discriminatory behaviour, or reinforcing negative stereotypes of men or women in general. It acknowledged that the theme of the ad might upset some viewers, including children, who had lost mothers. However, it did not consider the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to those viewers.
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