Supermarket Asda has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over its controversial Christmas advert which was deemed “sexist” by complainants, it has been announced today.
Featuring a mother carrying out familiar tasks in the run-up to Christmas, the ad concluded with a voice over saying, “It doesn’t just happen by magic. Behind every great Christmas, there’s mum, and behind mum there’s Asda.”
Complainants felt that the ad was offensive and sexist, and “reinforced outdated stereotypes of men and women in the home”, while also causing offence to single fathers and families who had lost mothers.
In response to complaints, the grocer said that it had conducted research prior to planning the ad, surveying 1896 mothers who shopped at Asda and finding that 80 per cent of mothers said they would be responsible for the majority of tasks at Christmas.
While the ASA conceded that the ad may upset some viewers, widespread offence was unlikely and as such it did not uphold complaints.
In a statement, the watchdog said: “We noted the ad focused on the mother’s role in the Christmas preparations, however, we noted the father was also shown to assist in those preparations.
“We considered viewers were likely to understand the ad was not prescriptive of the experience of all at Christmas; rather it reflected Asda’s view of the Christmas experience for a significant number of their customers.
“We therefore considered 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.”