Asda boss backs Christmas ad

Asda boss Andy Clarke has defended the supermarket’s Christmas ad campaign following accusations of sexism.

AsdaChristmasAd

Asda is using insight from mums to promote a “real family” Christmas for its biggest ever festive push.

The supermarket launched its Christmas activity earlier this month and has since attracted more than 180 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority prompting a formal investigation into whether it is sexist and reinforces negative gender stereotypes.

Its strapline: “Behind every great Christmas there’s mum and behind every great Christmas there’s Asda” has caused particular criticism.

Speaking to Marketing Week at the supermarket’s Q3 results presentation today (15 November) Asda CEO Andy Clarke said Asda had not intended to cause any offence and stood by the campaign calling it a “great ad”.

Clarke added that while there had been a “small number” of people with negative feedback, the majority of its shoppers are mums and most have supported the depiction of Christmas offered in the ad.

He said: “It’s a great ad, and the first thing to say is - did we intend to offend anybody - of course not. There’ a small number of people who have given us their feedback. The majority of people that shop at our stores are mums and the number of mums that have said to us either in stores or individual lightening groups or collectively through other surveys that it’s a pretty good reflection of how the pace of Christmas can take over when there’s lots to do in a busy household.

“The most important things is that we didn’t intend to offend anyone - and we’ve got a good campaigning - certainly lots of people are talking about it and we’ll continue to run an inventive Christmas ad campaign.”

Morrisons and Barclaycard’s festive ads have also attracted a handful of complaints that they too are sexist but the ASA has yet to begin a formal investigation.

Readers' comments (10)

  • It's a great ad, aimed at its core target market - Mums. See Mark Ritson's piece on Xmas ads too, in support. If you try not to offend any particular section of society, you'll end up making a bland, boring advert. These people who complain do it for a living. I mean I'll bet they've already complained that John Lewis' Xmas snowman ad stereotypes heterosexual couples and it would have been better if the snowman had been gay and he'd gone to buy his boyfriend a pink shirt.. far more inclusive. Not.

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  • I disagree with the above, i've never complained before so don't meet your "serial complainer" category, yet this ad has tempted me to as whilst I can see what their intended purpose is towards their target market, there's no doubt that it does reinforce the negative gender stereotype.

    The fact is however that this isn't necessarily all Asda's fault, I think the backlash to this ad is after years of the same negative stereotyping reinforced by Icelands "mum's are heroes" campaigns, meaning when this Asda ad came out it was the straw that broke the camels back, whilst the asda team probably took inspiration from the iceland ads without realising the resentment they had been causing.

    Nonetheless, with the amount of dad's who do more than their fair share these days, it's no wonder this would cause offence in what is supposed to be the generation of equality among sexes!

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  • It is a good advert and in no way does it marginalize women. I can't see what the fuss is about especially when you compare the other offerings from Asda's competitors e.g. Morrisons. As previous commentators have put it people need to get a life. What happened to the season of goodwill to all men....woops am I going to be complained about!!

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  • I think it's a great ad. I am a full time mum and work 5 days a week to boot. I see so many similarities to my life it makes me smile and places laugh out loud. Ask the people who complained who organises EVERYTHING for Christmas in their household!

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  • If Asda based their campaign on statistically significant data on their customer base, why is anyone complaining? The fact is that their largest customer segment are Mums! However disappointing it is to Dad's that they're not being portrayed the way they'd like, you can't argue with the figures and Asda's priority is their profit margin. In my personal experience, the women folk in my family handle Christmas so I completely relate to Asda's campaign - a successful ad, I'd say.

    Plus, if Dad's don't tend to shop in Asda's, I don't see what the moaning is about in the first place. Shop there more and make a difference in their stats.

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  • I think it is a great ad. It definitely portrays what I go through each Christmas. It's the basic truth, especially in my home and in a lot of my friends' homes, and sometimes the truth hurts.

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  • It really isn't about 'marginalising women'. Although it could be argued that the advert is a little old-fashioned (especially the final "what's for tea love"), the basic fact is that this is how Christmas is for most people.

    HOWEVER, the problem is with the tagline "behind every great Christmas there's mum". What that's implying is that if you don't have a mum your Christmas is destined to be shit. So orphans, kids of single parents or kids of gay couples, may as well not bother.

    If mum is usually the one that runs Christmas then that's fine, you can reference that in your ad, but don't claim she is the ONLY ONE who is up to the job. That's the problem.

    It is really easy to make a Christmas ad that sends the exact same message but looks a little more modern, see Boots for details.

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  • It really isn't about 'marginalising women'. Although it could be argued that the advert is a little old-fashioned (especially the final "what's for tea love"), the basic fact is that this is how Christmas is for most people.

    HOWEVER, the problem is with the tagline "behind every great Christmas there's mum". What that's implying is that if you don't have a mum your Christmas is destined to be shit. So orphans, kids of single parents or kids of gay couples, may as well not bother.

    If mum is usually the one that runs Christmas then that's fine, you can reference that in your ad, but don't claim she is the ONLY ONE who is up to the job. That's the problem.

    It is really easy to make a Christmas ad that sends the exact same message but looks a little more modern, see Boots for details.

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  • I think its a great ad and mirrors pretty much what happens in our home, most other homes I know and I suspect the majority of homes in Britain give or take a bit of selective help here and there Its not putting guys down its simply telling it how it is only too often. Makes me laugh though!.

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  • Perfectly decent ad reflecting a consumer truth in most UK HH's .... and hardly a new idea .. indeed isn't this ad curiously similar to P&G's 'Thank you mum' Olympic campaign?

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