Mondelez and Volkswagen TV ads banned under gender stereotyping rules

A Volkwagen advert showed a man and a woman asleep in a tent next to a cliff face

A Volkwagen advert showed a man and a woman asleep in a tent next to a cliff face Credit ASA PA

The Philadelphia advert banned over gender stereotypes.

A ban on ads featuring "harmful gender stereotypes" or those which are likely to cause "serious or widespread offence" came into force in June.

"The current Philadelphia Cream Cheese advert showing "1st time dopey Dads" is certainly an example of gender stereotyping", wrote one person on Twitter.

The ad showed two dads forgetting about a baby, leaving it on a restaurant buffet conveyor belt while distracted by food, and agreeing not to "tell mum".

"By juxtaposing 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 considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender", said ASA officials, in reference to the Volkswagen ad. While chatting they accidentally find their babies are whisked away on it. "Let's not tell mum", one of them says. Over 125 viewers complained.

"We acknowledged the action was meant to be light-hearted and comical and there was no sense that the children were in danger", the ASA said in its decision.

Volkswagen said its ad was not sexist and that caring for a newborn was a life-changing experience about adaptation, regardless of the gender of the parent depicted.

The ASA upheld the complaint, however, saying the ad portrayed the men as "somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children effectively". "The ASA's interpretation of the ads against the new rule and guidance goes further than we anticipated and has implications for a wide range of ads".

Mondelez UK, which owns Philadelphia, argued the ad showed a "positive image of men with a responsible and active role in childcare in modern society".

"We take our advertising responsibility very seriously and work with a range of partners to make sure our marketing meets and complies with all United Kingdom regulation".

The ad - for a weight-loss product - was not initially banned by the ASA, as it did not explicitly break any rules, but the regulator eventually took action due to its health claims.

The ASA, however, "concluded that the ad presented gender stereotypes in way that was likely to cause harm".

The ASA said commercials will still be allowed to show "glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles".

The other, VW ad, showed men being adventurous as a woman sat by a pram.

CNN Business has contacted Volkswagen (VLKAF) for comment.

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