British watchdog ASA bans two ads over sexist stereotypes

Volkswagen's ad, which also will not feature on television again, featured men completing adventurous activities and a woman sitting on a bench with a baby buggy.

The ASA said the ad was meant to be light-hearted and comical but portrayed the men as "somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children effectively".

"We hope advertisers will study the portrayals to understand where the boundary lies between depictions of gender stereotypes in ads which are not deemed to be harmful and those now prohibited by the new rule".

Under new rules that came into effect on 14 June, adverts "must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence".

"The current Philadelphia Cream Cheese advert showing "1st time dopey Dads" is certainly an example of gender stereotyping", wrote one person on Twitter.

An advertisement for cream cheese showing distracted dads leaving babies on a conveyer belt was banned by Britain's ad regulator Wednesday under new rules against harmful gender stereotypes.

Complainants said the ad showed men engaged in adventurous activities, that unlike her male counterpart, the female rock climber was "passive" because she was asleep, and that the woman with the pram was depicted in a stereotypical care-giving role. While chatting they accidentally find their babies are whisked away on it. "Let's not tell mum", one of them says.

Complainants said the advertisement perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and were so incompetent they would place youngsters at risk.

It prompted three complaints from viewers, and the ASA found it showed a woman "engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role".

The ASA said the ad presented gender stereotypes "in a way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the code".

The ASA said the ad had a light-hearted and comical intent, but portrayed the men as "somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children effectively".

"It is concerning to see the ASA take on the role of the morality police", said Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, an advertising expert at the law firm Lewis Silkin.

"The ASA seems to be out of sync with society in general".

"We acknowledged the action was meant to be light-hearted and comical and there was no sense that the children were in danger", the ASA said in its decision. "The ASA's interpretation of the ads against the new rule and guidance goes further than we anticipated and has implications for a wide range of ads".

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