Asda Xmas ad sparks 'sexist' complaints

Asda is facing censure from the advertising regulator after its Christmas ad sparked a slew of complaints alleging the spot is “sexist” and reinforces negative gender stereotypes.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has already received 24 complaints about the ad, which launched on Sunday (4 November) and depicts the challenges mums face in preparation for Christmas.

The supermarket and its ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi created the campaign using insight from Asda’s rolling ‘Mumdex’ survey of 4,000 mums.

Viewers, however, have objected to the ad and its strapline - “Behind every great Christmas there’s Mum” - claiming it suggests that men, or fathers, do not have a role in contributing to Christmas.

Another objection to the ad is that it implies it is solely a mother’s job to prepare for Christmas, which complainants say is sexist to both men and women and could reinforce stereotypes.

A spokesman from the ASA says the watchdog will “carefully assess the complaints before deciding on the next steps”, which may include a formal investigation that could result in the ad being banned.

Viewers have also taken to the Marketing Week website to complain about the festive ad.

One reader, Kay Smyth, wrote: “I think Asda have badly misjudged their market with this advert. It manages to offend mothers and women - you only find fulfilment in serving and satisfying every need of your family - and fathers and men - you are just an incompetent spare part.

“The only ‘emotional levels’ it seems to connect on are frustration, defensiveness and anger. It doesn’t give the ‘warm fuzzies’ and I can’t imagine who’d be moved to shop at Asda as a result of this ghastly advert.”

An Asda spokeswoman told Marketing Week that 80 per cent of its shoppers are mums and in research they were “overwhelmingly positive” about the ad.

She added: “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.”

Readers' comments (96)

  • Having just watched the advert for the first time here on your website, I have to say how familiar it all looked. In all of the households I know, "mum" (or the female) tends to do all the preparation and clearing up. "Dad" (or the male) has his own responsibilities, but I don't think ASDA cater to those.

    The only bit I didn't like was the voice-over at the end. And those who expect the "warm fuzzies" at Xmas never spent the season of "good will" in my house(!) In my experience, Xmas is over-consumption, fraught with arguments and exhausting. It's only great for those not doing the work, i.e. the kids.

    Whoever has been offended by this advertisement needs more things in their life to worry about. If you don't like it, don't watch.

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  • It’s not so much that the ad is sexist, just that it is a largely accurate reflection of a patriarchal, sexist society in which mums, more often than dads, fulfil this role.

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  • 24 complaints? Here we go again. This ad will ring true for many women across the country no matter where they shop. It is exclusive in that it doesn't take into account the fathers that cook on Christmas Day, single dads, women without children, etc., but I this is a targetted campaign I'm assuming. 22,000 likes against 24 complaints isn't a bad ratio in my book.

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  • I love the ad, I think it's great.

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  • I'm fed up of hearing people say "Whoever has been offended by xyz needs more things in their life to worry about" - what a poor argument!

    Why are you then taking the time to complain about people complaining? Isn't that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?

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  • Complaints?!? Seriously people?? get a grip and perhaps something better to do during the day!

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  • Omg why would anyone in there right mind complain about this? yes they obviously haven't anything in your life to worry about! think they must sit by TV and go through every new advert etc. to pick fault and quickly make a complaint while the rest of us can sit and laugh at them doing it! so much for peace and good will lol, there's plenty of things to moan about in this world but an asda ad lol unbelievable!!!

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  • ASDA’s Christmas TV ad is targeted at mothers as much as HP’s “Sauce of Manliness” TV ad is targeted at young men.

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  • asda advert is very sexist as a male i help with the xmas dinner plus all other chores around the house think i will not be shopping there any more

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  • What's wrong with the ad! It's so refreshingly real and tells it EXACTLY like it is. People have a probelm with this - seriously?!!

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