ASDA cleared over Christmas ads

First published in January 2013


NEWS-BITE | Marketing Comms | Advertising: The Advertising Standards Agency has cleared a pre-Christmas ad campaign run by ASDA which some accused of being sexist, and which garnered no less than 620 complaints to the ad industry regulator.

The promo featured a harassed looking mother going through the motions of preparing for a family Christmas, doing the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, writing the cards and wrapping the presents, concluding with the strapline “Behind every great Christmas there’s mum, and behind every mum there’s ASDA”.

Some felt the ad was sexist, either by suggesting that in the average family much of the work involved in preparing for the festive period is single-handedly undertaken by the mother, or for implying that that’s the way it should be.

But ASDA decided to fight back, arguing that research suggested that, on average, women do do most of the work around Christmas time. According to The Guardian, a spokesman for the retail firm said: “Extensive consumer research and feedback indicated that the majority of customers identified with the ad’s representation of Christmas. Eight out of ten mothers [of 1,896 surveyed] … believed the ad reflected common experience, rather than outdated stereotypes”.

The ASA ruled that the ad was not “condoning or encouraging harmful discriminatory behaviour, or reinforcing negative stereotypes”.