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14 Aug, 2019 18:38

Stifling creativity! Philadelphia & Volkswagen ads banned in the UK for 'gender stereotyping'

Stifling creativity! Philadelphia & Volkswagen ads banned in the UK for 'gender stereotyping'

Two ads for Volkswagen and Philadelphia cheese have been banned from the UK by its advertising watchdog under new rules on gender stereotypes. The regulator's decision was both mocked and criticized for its "depressing direction."

The offending Volkswagen eGolf ad showed a female rock climber asleep while a man closes their tent on a cliff to make sure the moonlight won't disturb them, two male astronauts in a spaceship, a disabled male athlete performing a long jump and finally a mom on a bench next to a pram. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received three complaints about it and ruled the ad breached the code by "showing men engaged in adventurous activities in contrast to a woman in a care-giving role."

The car manufacturer disagreed with the ruling, claiming that 'the core message of the ad was centered on the ability of the human spirit to adapt to challenges and change brought about by circumstances," and explained the final scene of the woman in the park as another example of a challenge and "adaptation to change, as they believed that welcoming a newborn into the family was a life changing experience."

The Philadelphia cream cheese ad, which received 128 complaints, showed two young dads getting distracted by lunch leaving their children on a conveyor belt circulating with food.

Also on rt.com ‘Radical feminism’ or overdue reform? UK bans ‘harmful gender stereotypes’ in ads (DEBATE)

Mondelez UK Ltd – which makes Philadelphia cheese – said the advert was intended to highlight the appeal of the product by showing a humorous situation in which parents found it so delicious they got momentarily distracted and that the gender roles could be reversed.

Moreover, according to the brand, they specifically chose two men to avoid the typical stereotype of two new mothers with childcare responsibilities. Apparently, that didn't help: the ASA acknowledged the video was intended to be light-hearted and comical but the ban was upheld.

The ban has provoked strong reactions on Twitter with users calling it a "joke." Some questioned how three complaints could lead to a ban, while others tried to point out that there are certain areas that require more attention: "You have lost site of where harm is done by adverts – e.g. such as addictive pastimes (gambling), inappropriate internet ads and nutritional food qualities."

Advertising professionals also criticized the decision, expressing concern that it may be likely to cause more harm than good by stifling creativity or creating new stereotypes, as the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising put it.  Clearcast, an agency that clears ads for broadcast on the UK's main commercial channels, hit back at the advertising watchdog saying the guidelines for imposing the rule are not clear.

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