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Morrisons' "sexist" Christmas ad cleared by ASA

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Supermarket Morrisons’ Christmas advertising campaign has been cleared by industry watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over sexism claims, it has been announced today.

Complaints were made to the body by viewers who felt that the TV ad, featuring a couple making preparations for Christmas with the woman bearing the brunt of traditional issues such as cooking a turkey with little input from her partner or family, reinforced “outdated stereotypes of men and women in the home”.

In response, Morrisons explained that the ad was based on “socially representative” focus groups which provided a strong message that working mothers still undertake the majority of festive preparations and portrayed these real-life experiences in a light-hearted way.

Clearcast supported the grocer’s comment and did not believe that the ad was likely to be considered sexist or offensive to viewers.

Morrisons reported a “challenging” Christmas trading period as like-for-like sales dipped by 2.5 per cent in the six weeks to December 30th 2012 and CEO Dalton Philips conceded that “in a difficult market, our sales performance was lower than anticipated.”

In its judgment, the ASA said that, following Morrison’s own market research, the ad sought to realistically portray the “huge task” of Christmas preparations.

In a statement, the watchdog said: “We acknowledged that some people would find the ad’s portrayal of a mother being solely responsible for the preparations to be distasteful.

“However, we considered the ad did not imply that it reflected every family’s experience.

“We also considered that the ad was not likely to be seen as condoning or encouraging harmful discriminatory behaviour, or reinforcing negative stereotypes of men or women in general, and, for those reasons, considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

“We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.”

Published on Wednesday 27 February by Editorial Assistant

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