Asda’s new Christmas ad is facing a possible ban from the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) following over 50 complaints that labelled the ad sexist.
The ad, which launched last Sunday (November 4), shows a mother preparing for a family Christmas, such as doing the Christmas shopping and cooking lunch.
The ASA has received 54 complaints that the ad is sexist towards both women and men and reinforces negative gender stereotypes. Complaints included that the ad and its strapline - “Behind every great Christmas there’s Mum” - implied that men do not contribute to Christmas and that it is solely a mother’s role to prepare for the festivities.
An ASA spokesman says the advertising watchdog will “carefully assess the complaints before deciding on the next steps” and may formally investigate the ad, which could lead to it being banned.
Asda has responded by claiming that 80% of its shoppers are mothers and that its customers were ‘overwhelmingly positive’ about the ad. An Asda spokeswoman said: ‘The sentiment was that it was “so true”. Following the launch on Sunday we received over 22,000 likes on our Facebook page in less than three hours.’
Despite defending the ad’s premise, Asda added: “To any mums and dads who have been upset by our Christmas TV ad - we’d like to offer our sincere apologies. It wasn’t our intention to offend anyone.”
The Saatchi & Saatchi-created ad received a positive response on the social media site Twitter. One Tweeter said: “People confusing the term sexist with accurate ;) I’m a Mom, do most the Christmas prep and am very happy to do so.”
However, people also used the social media site to voice their complaints. One Tweeter said: “Hi @asda I’m worried, I’m considering getting a “Chosen By You” Turkey, but I don’t have a mum to cook it. Should I go to Tesco instead?”
The advert has also been condemned by the Fathers 4 Justice fathers’ rights organisation, which submitted its own complaints to Asda and the ASA and is encouraging further complaints to the advertising watchdog.
A Fathers 4 Justice spokeswoman added that the organisation has sent a letter to Asda giving the retailer a deadline of 10 days to drop the ad and apologise for the campaign, which she called “grossly insulting” to fathers who won’t see their children at Christmas.