The United Kingdom is inching closer to a no-deal Brexit, but that hasn’t stopped the country from focusing on what really matters – commercials that aren’t politically correct.
While the UK is known for banning ads that show aggressive driving, the BBC says a Volkswagen commercial was among the first to be banned for showing “harmful gender stereotypes.”
As you can see in the clip, men are shown doing exciting things such as sleeping on the edge of a mountain, working on a space station and overcoming a disability by performing a long jump. While that doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary for a car commercial, the ad was banned because the most prominent woman in the video was simply sitting on a bench next to a stroller.
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they received three complainants about the commercial from viewers who felt it “perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by showing men engaged in adventurous activities in contrast to a woman in a care-giving role.”
Volkswagen defended the ad by saying the core message was humans can adapt to challenges and change. The company went on to say they “did not think that a climber, astronaut, or athlete competing in a Paralympic sport were gender stereotypical roles or occupations.”
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The ASA wasn’t moved by Volkswagen’s argument as their ruling stated “While the majority of the ad was focused on a theme of adapting to difficult circumstances and achievement, the final scene showed a woman sitting on a bench and reading, with a pram by her side. We acknowledged that becoming a parent was a life changing experience that required significant adaptation, but taking care of children was a role that was stereotypically associated with women.” As a result, they concluded the ad presented gender stereotypes in a way that was “likely to cause harm and therefore breached the Code.” This means the e-Golf ad, in its current form, can never be aired again.
Ironically, the ad is now experiencing the Streisand effect as the ASA’s ban caused the commercial to be widely shared online. Effectively, they’ve ended up promoting something they consider harmful.