The supermarket launched its Christmas activity earlier this month and has since attracted more than 180 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority prompting a formal investigation into whether it is sexist and reinforces negative gender stereotypes.
Its strapline: “Behind every great Christmas there’s mum and behind every great Christmas there’s Asda” has caused particular criticism.
Speaking to Marketing Week at the supermarket’s Q3 results presentation today (15 November) Asda CEO Andy Clarke said Asda had not intended to cause any offence and stood by the campaign calling it a “great ad”.
Clarke added that while there had been a “small number” of people with negative feedback, the majority of its shoppers are mums and most have supported the depiction of Christmas offered in the ad.
He said: “It’s a great ad, and the first thing to say is – did we intend to offend anybody – of course not. There’ a small number of people who have given us their feedback. The majority of people that shop at our stores are mums and the number of mums that have said to us either in stores or individual lightening groups or collectively through other surveys that it’s a pretty good reflection of how the pace of Christmas can take over when there’s lots to do in a busy household.
“The most important things is that we didn’t intend to offend anyone – and we’ve got a good campaigning – certainly lots of people are talking about it and we’ll continue to run an inventive Christmas ad campaign.”
Morrisons and Barclaycard’s festive ads have also attracted a handful of complaints that they too are sexist but the ASA has yet to begin a formal investigation.