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These Are The First TV Adverts Banned for Gender Stereotyping

Nick Levine

TV adverts for a Volkswagen electric car and Philadelphia soft cheese have been banned under the UK's new gender stereotyping rules.

They're are the first to be pulled since the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) introduced new rules in June which state that adverts "must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence".

The TV ad for the Volkswagen eGolf showed a man and a woman camping next to a cliff edge, two male athletes floating in a space ship, a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg competing in the long jump, and a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram.

After it aired on June 14th, the advert was the subject of three complaints. Concluding that the advert breached the new gender stereotyping rules, the ASA said: "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 advert for Philadelphia soft cheese also aired on 14th June, but was the subject of a far greater number of complaints: 128. It showed two new dads failing to keep an eye on their babies because they were distracted by dishes on a food conveyor belt. The ad ended with one dad saying to his child: "Let's not tell mum."

Mondelez, the multinational that makes Philadelphia, said in defence of the advert that it "chose two dads to deliberately avoid the typical stereotype of two new mothers with the childcare responsibilities".

The ASA acknowledged that "the ad depicted new parents and could therefore be seen as a characterisation of new parents as inexperienced and learning how to adapt to parenthood". However, it ultimately concluded that the advert had indeed breached the new gender stereotyping rules.

The ASA explained in its assessment: "In combination with the opening scene in which one of the babies was handed over by the mother to the father, and the final scene in which one of the fathers said “Let’s not tell mum”, we considered the ad relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women and implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender."

As a result of the ASA's assessments, both ads aren't allowed to be shown again in the UK in their current form.

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