A 30-second television advertisement for the Volkswagen e-Golf has been banned in the United Kingdom for presenting “gender stereotypes in way that was likely to cause harm”.
As reported by CNN (and picked up by Motor1.com), three complainants approached the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK, arguing the advert breached newly introduced codes designed to stop companies depicting gender in a way ” likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.
The commercial opens with a shot of a woman and a man in a tent. The woman is asleep while the man switches off the light and closes the tent, which is fixed to a sheer cliff face.
The following scene depicts two male astronauts floating in a space ship. Text on the screen says “When we learn to adapt…”. Next we see a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg performing the long jump. The text states “…we can achieve anything”.
The final scene shows a woman sitting on a bench next to a pram. A Volkswagen e-Golf passed as the woman looks up from her book. The advert closes with text stating: “The Golf is electric. The 100% electric e-Golf”.
While the UK branch of the Volkswagen Group argued the core message of the advert was “centred on the ability of the human spirit to adapt to challenges and change brought about by circumstances”, the ASA ruled it juxtaposed 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 concluded that the ad presented gender stereotypes in way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the Code,” the ASA ruled, before instructing VW to pull the advert.
However, the advert is still on YouTube (albeit in fairly low resolution) and we’ve embedded it below…