The festive advertising campaign showed a mother preparing all aspects of Christmas and carried the strapline “Behind every great Christmas, there’s mum and behind mum there’s Asda”.
The ad, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, attracted criticism over three main issues. The bulk of complaints accused the ad of being offensive and sexist because it reinforced outdated stereotypes of men and women in the home. Others complained it caused offence to single fathers and distressed children who had lost their mothers.
Asda acknowledged the ad did not reflect “universal experience”, but said extensive consumer research found the majority of its customers identified with the representation of Christmas in its ads. The supermarket added that the ads represented a “common experience” and “positive celebration” of mums not outdated stereotypes.
It was cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on all three fronts.
The watchdog did, however, acknowledge single fathers may find the portrayal of mums in the central role “distasteful” but unlikely to cause serious offence.
An Asda spokesperson says: “Mums are at the heart of our business and our advert was a true reflection of everything they do to juggle their busy lives. They have a lot resting on their shoulders and we wanted to celebrate the amazing job they do, not just at Christmas, but day in day out to take care of their families.”