A television ad for HomePride oven cleaner has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of sexism, despite more than 670 complaints.
In the ad, a man is shown with an annoyed-looking pregnant woman, who is holding the cleaner. The woman then demonstrates how easy it is to use while the man watches with exaggerated childlike expressions. The ad ends with text stating: “No men were harmed during the making of this commercial”.
The ad, which was accused of being sexist and depicting men as lazy and stupid, also featured a voiceover stating: “So easy, even a man can do it”.
Most complainants said the ad was sexist and offensive because it suggested men were stupid and lazy. Other complainants said the ad suggested cleaning was a woman’s work so that it was “demeaning” to women.
HomePride has defended the ad, stating its intentions were to raise awareness of the product using “tongue-in-cheek humour”. The use of humour to play on natural gender differences was not unreasonable in advertising, it added.
The ASA agreed the ad would be seen by the majority of viewers as “light hearted and comical”.
The watchdog ruled the ad did not portray either gender in a way that stigmatised, humiliated or undermined them but it did acknowledge why some viewers considered it in poor taste.