Profile: Jeremy Gilley

The man marketing world peace

Mums applaud Asda ad despite 'sexist' row

Asda’s Christmas ad has been found by a poll of Netmums members to be the second most popular festive spot this year - in spite of the furore it sparked shortly after launch, with hundreds of viewers claiming it is “sexist”.

Fewer than one in 10 Netmums members polled said the ad - which depicts a mother preparing for Christmas Day - was sexist, with 61 per cent saying the ads reflected real life where mothers tend to “do most of the preparation”.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received more than 190 complaints about the ad since its launch and has launched a formal investigation into the spot.

Earlier this month as the row was escalating about the ad Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said while some of its members felt the spot was “a little cheesy”, others felt it was “part of the charm”.

Freegard continued: “There will always be a small hardcore of people who are easily offended and complain about anything and everything, but most normal mums see the ad for what it is - a lighthearted look at a family’s festive preparations designed to spread a bit of Christmas cheer.”

Rival parenting forum Mumsnet, however, told Marketing Week the ad was the subject of more than 1,000 comments on its forums in less than 24 hours - with many of its users saying the spot was “patronising”.

The most popular ad amongst Netmums members this year is the John Lewis “Snowman” spot (see the top 10 below).

Almost half (47 per cent) of the 1,200 mums polled said they wanted ads that feature “lots of children”, while 44 per cent said they look for commercials that feature snapshots of real families’ “special moments”.

Additionally, 44 per cent said they preferred ads with well-known songs, with about a third (30 per cent) claiming they buy music just because it had featured on a Christmas advert. The John Lewis ad features a cover of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song “The Power of Love” by Gabrielle Aplin - which is currently number 7 in the UK singles charts.

The majority (96 per cent) of Netmums said they dislike Christmas ads that feature celebrities, which may explain why Waitrose’s ad featuring Delia Smith and Heston Blumenthal featured so low down in the list (8).

Top 10 Christmas ads 2012
(Source: Netmums)
1. John Lewis
2. Asda  
3. M&S
4. Morrisons
5. Aldi
6. Debenhams
7. Boots
8. Waitrose   
9. Tesco
10. Matalan

Readers' comments (8)

  • I imagine the same poll of Netmums found that Victoria Beckham was a great role model, Jordan should be Mum of the Year and Kerry Katona should get a medal for everything she's been through.

    Asda is guilty of going for the lowest common denominator - as Littlewoods did last year. Whether or not the advert was successful is a moot point. It was tacky and offensive.

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  • I totally disagree with the above. The ad may be cheesy but it's hardly offensive. I honestly don't know where we will stop if an advert showing a mum at Christmas is offensive!!! where do we draw the line? someone is always going to be offended!

    It's obviously worked as an ad as there has been so much discussion on it fuelling its media presence. Even by you commenting on it you're helping it stay in the press and increasing its media presence!

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  • The trouble with the ASDA advert, like too many on the TV nowadays is that it's aimed at women for women. The people who they polled for information on the creation of the ad were women. See the problem here?
    Apparently 80% of ASDA customers are women. I shop at ASDA on Saturday morning and there are easily more men in the store. ASDA would benefit from counting their customers properly so they can produce less unfair marketing aimed at one gender. I still don't believe that this ad shows how things really are in the home in 2012. Come on ASDA, this is not the 1950's!

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  • I assume the ad is aimed at mums, but as a non parent its also great to show everyone else what mums go through behind the scenes. We all know that the majority of the work is done by mums, and yes there are husbands or sole parent dads that do also, but in my experience and from what I've seen myself, women generally do all or most of the planning, preparing and work. I think we don't give enough credit to mums and anything that shows the rest of us what it's like is a good thing.

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  • I for one am relieved that the incessantly lazy marketing drivel about motherhood is finally being questioned. For years men have been asked, quite rightly, to engage more in home life, with most of us taking an increasingly active share for a couple of decades at least, and in many cases these cliches have been reversed, as mums become breadwinners or just more equal partners. I both pay for and decide much of the domestic shopping in our home. As a predominantly Asda shopper, I find it deeply offensive that adverts like this show an utterly outdated mode of family life. It's not just that men are increasingly involved, it's that the stereotype is so damaging to all mums, dads and kids. Over the years, I've been witness to numerous Christmases in several households ruined precisely because so much pressure was put on various mothers to live up to impossible social norms such as these. I work with marketing and management information every day, so I know how figures can lie or hide real truths. Asda need to find a new ad agency, fast, or risk alienating a major growth market whilst damning their supposedly female-only current one to Christmas misery.

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  • the advert is sexist and outdated.until asda realise that men play an equal role in children's upbringing,and in the household in today's world,I won't be shopping there,my £150 a week shopping bill will go elsewhere,the same of my brother who raised his 2 kids,and also my best mate and his wife(who felt the advert sexist)who are a 6 strong family,won't be shopping there either.thats probably over a grand a week they have lost.perhaps asda are trying to compete with boots as to who can have the most outdated sexist ads.

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  • Having sent an email to Asda and only getting an auto response claiming to look into it in the next 2-3 days, I contacted them by phone to discuss the sexist advert. I received a written response, which further enhances the sexist comments contained in the sexist advertisement. A lengthy phone conversation with the Customer Services Manager backed up thier disregard of men and their belief that their advert is not sexist. Copy of letter available. I too, will not be shopping at Asda again.

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  • The advert represents a normal nuclear family with hardworking mother caring for them. She is conforming to a social role which has existed for hundreds of years. My mum saw the advert and felt appreciated and so will many. You may be a banker or a business women (I will be a proffesional in a few years) but I would still want to look after my family as shown in the Asda Advert. It reaches the target audience and guess what? Maybe some women can learn from it. Be a feminist if you want but not at the expensive of putting your family first. That's what the advert said to me.

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