Gender stereotypes in advertising: how not to fall foul of the new rules

VW advert screenshot

The Advertising Standards Authority recently banned two ads under new rules to prevent depictions of harmful gender stereotypes. What should retailers take heed of to make sure they don’t fall foul of the regulations?

In one shot, two male astronauts float in a spaceship. In another, a male para-athlete sprints to triumphantly complete a long jump.

Following two images of successful, high-achieving men in their field, you might think Volkswagen may have depicted a female barrister representing a client in court or a female scientist in a lab in its TV ad for the eGolf. Instead, the next image shows a woman sat on a bench next to a pram.

Sexist? Yes. Will we see it again? No, since the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recently said it fell foul of its new gender stereotyping rules, which came into force in June and stipulated that ads must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence.


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