U.K. Bans Ads For Showing 'Dopey Dad' And Stereotypical Mom

They're fall under new rules about harmful gender stereotypes.
glamorous housewife makes light work of her hoovering
glamorous housewife makes light work of her hoovering

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.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the ad for Philadelphia cream cheese “relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women and implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender.”

In the ad, two “new dads” are so impressed with the lunch offerings going by them in a restaurant that they both leave their babies on the conveyer belt, enjoy a few bites of their (cream cheese) sandwiches, then sheepishly grab their children as one mutters, “Let’s not tell Mom.”


WATCH: See the banned ad, via The Guardian. Story continues below.

Parent company Mondelez U.K. argued that the ad shows a positive image of men taking a responsible and active role in child care. It said it was “extremely disappointed” with the decision.

The advertising watchdog also banned a Volkswagen ad that shows men doing adventurous, inspirational activities — like becoming astronauts and competing in track and field events — and a woman sitting on a bench beside a baby stroller.

Yep, those are definitely not the same things, Volkswagen.

WATCH: See the other banned ad, via The Guardian. Story continues below.

“By juxtaposing images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities with women who appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role, we considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender,” the authority said.

Geraldine Ingham, head of marketing for Volkswagen U.K., said the ad shows both men and women “taking part in challenging situations.”

WATCH: Learn more about the U.K. gender stereotypes ban in ads. Story continues below.

Wednesday’s rulings are the first under rules that took effect in June barring “gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence.”

Examples given by the Advertising Standards Authority include depictions of a man failing to change a diaper or a woman unable to park a car or ads that suggest women are solely responsible for cooking and cleaning.

The advertising authority doesn’t have the power to impose fines, but British broadcasters are bound by the terms of their licenses to comply with its rulings.

Gender stereotypes are harmful for everyone

Not only are these depictions of dads as bumbling and forgetful super stale (Hello, it’s 2019), but they’re also false.

Recent research found that Canadian dads are more involved than ever before, ranking seventh out of 22 countries on a measure of how parents share child care responsibilities. Dads are also staying home with their kids, making efforts to connect with other fathers, playing a more proactive role in parenting, and doing more housework.

Meanwhile, kids are very susceptible to gendered marketing, which is somehow still more prevalent than ever. U.K. research found that boys in toy catalogues are four times more likely to be shown with cars, and girls were 12 times more likely to be shown with dolls.

Canadian Tire ad
Canadian Tire ad

Recently, several ads have made headlines for turning stereotypes on their heads. Canadian Tire, Mercedez-Benz and Mattell, and Gillette have all released campaigns in the last year that were applauded for being progressive.

Your move, Philly cream cheese.

With files from Natalie Stechyson.

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