‘Still single? Don’t call me mom!’ IKEA dumps China ad offending singles
“The TV ad has been withdrawn from all channels by IKEA China,” the company’s spokeswoman in China told Reuters.
The Swedish retailer attracted negative headlines after internet users descended on its half-minute clip, broadcast in China. The piece starts with a family dinner with parents seeming rather dissatisfied. The mother then strictly announces: “If you cannot bring back a boyfriend, don’t call me Mum!”
However, tensions subside when the doorbell rings and the daughter greets a man holding flowers. As she introduces the guest as her boyfriend, the parents quickly change their attitude and start to dress up the living room with IKEA items. While the parents and the boyfriend enjoy dinner, the daughter is taken aback by the sudden transformation. It concludes with the caption, “celebrate everyday’s life.”
“Is the ad trying to tell us single women are not welcome at home and can’t use IKEA products to celebrate moments in everyday life? This is clearly sexist, I am disappointed,” one commented on the Sino Weibo microblogging website.
“I just want to ask IKEA would they dare to show such an advert in their home country, Sweden?” SCMP quoted another user.
“Whether having a romantic partner or not is one’s own business and does not need any interference from others, let alone an advertisement,” said Ba Ge Zhuan Yong, a Weibo user with more than six million followers.
Others believed that with such an ad, the company was encouraging and forcing single women into getting married, according to the Global Times.
On Tuesday, IKEA released a statement, apologizing for “giving the wrong perception” following the avalanche of criticism for stigmatizing so-called “leftover women,” a derogatory term widely used in China to describe women remaining unmarried in their late 20s.
“IKEA encourages people to live different lifestyles, and this belief is reflected in our product design and home furnishing solutions. Gender equality is a fundamental part of the IKEA culture and values, which we share with everybody,” says the statement, which, however, hasn’t appeased everybody.