An ad for PC Specialist, a UK based PC retailer was reportedly banned for “perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes of women”.
If you hoped you won’t see anything absolutely ridiculous today, I’m sorry to burst that bubble. The TV ad for PC Specialist starts off with a PC exploding and three guys getting excited over an awesome looking PC they can use for gaming, making music and programming, which, it seems, is sexist.
The Advertising Standards Authority received eight complaints from people who said the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes because the ad shows men in stereotypically male roles, and that only men are interested in computers.
PC Specialist responded by pointing out that 87.5% of their customers are male, aged between 15 and 35 years, and as such their ad is aimed exactly at their customer base. Which makes perfect sense, that is how marketing works.
They continued the defense noting that the ad doesn’t compare men and women at any point, nothing in the ad even implies that women don’t have an interest in computers. Also reminding that their service is available to anyone and everyone.
This obviously didn’t change the opinion of ASA, “...we considered that because the ad strongly implied only men could excel in the specialisms and roles depicted we concluded the ad presented gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the Code.”
There you have it, if eight people complain about an ad with baseless arguments, it will get removed. So, if you live in the UK and see an ad you don’t like, grab a few friends and report it, ASA will make sure you feel safe.