Philadelphia and Volkswagen adverts BANNED under new gender stereotype rules

14 August 2019, 10:35 | Updated: 14 August 2019, 10:37

A Philadelphia advert has been banned
A Philadelphia advert has been banned. Picture: Getty Images/Mondelez

The Advertising Standards Authority have banned VW and Philadelphia ads which include 'incapable dads' and 'passive women'.

Two television adverts have been banned in the UK for promoting gender stereotypes under new rules. 

The Advertising Standards Authority banned the commercials by Volkswagen and Philadelphia cream cheese following complaints they reinforced ‘harmful’ ideas about men and women. 

In the advert by Philadelphia - owned by Mondelez - two new dads can be seen leaving their child on a buffet conveyor while they were distracted by cream cheese. 

When it was on air, the video received 128 complaints, with viewers insisting it “relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women.”

The advert by Philadelphia has been banned
The advert by Philadelphia has been banned. Picture: Mondelez

Despite Mondelez defending the ad, explaining they had specifically chosen two dads to avoid showing two new mums taking on childcare, the ASA agreed it breached rules on gender stereotyping. 

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A spokesperson said: “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. 

“We also considered that the narrative and humour in the ad derived from the use of the gender stereotype. 

“We did not consider that the use of humour in the ad mitigated the effect of the harmful stereotype; indeed it was central to it, because the humour derived from the audiences’ familiarity with the gender stereotype being portrayed.”

Volkswagen argued their advert did not breach new rules
Volkswagen argued their advert did not breach new rules. Picture: Volkswagen

Meanwhile, the ad for Volkswagen’s electric eGolf vehicle saw a series of scenes including a man next to a woman in a tent, two male astronauts, a male para-athlete and a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram. 

Text included in the advert read: “When we learn to adapt we can achieve anything.”

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Although bosses at the car company insisted they wanted to demonstrate the ‘ability of the human spirit to adapt to challenges and change’, the ASA rejected Volkswagen’s claim.

The standards agency instead said there was a “direct contrast between how the male and female characters were depicted.” 

They upheld that while the men were seen in “extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities”, the women “appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role.” 

The new rules, which came into effect on 14 June, state that advertising “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.