Strategy and Sausages:
A British Strategic Planner in Germany
Thursday, 15 August 2019
Tiptoe through the tulips
I'm afraid that this post may have me sounding like a rabid Daily Fail reader, but sometimes I wonder what I'm still doing in this business.
I read that the ASA have banned the first two TV ads under the new rules put in place to "reduce gender stereotyping." Complaints had come in from the public to say that these ads "perpetuated harmful stereotypes." I took a look at the ads, expecting to see something outrageous. Offensive, even.
But I don't think I've seen anything so harmless in my life.
According to the BBC, three people (no, that's not a typo) complained that the VW ad showed women in a passive/stereotypical care-giving role. I'd assume those three people were taking the piss. But the ASA, in their infinite wisdom, have concluded that "this ad presented gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm."
Cause harm? To whom? In whose view? What possible harm could be caused by seeing a woman on a park bench by a pram for a couple of seconds in a TV commercial? What kind of a world is it where depicting someone as care-giving is "likely to cause harm"?
Maybe the woman in the ad finally had a longed-for baby after several miscarriages. Maybe she's a lesbian. Maybe she used to be a man. Maybe she used to be a wombat for all I know and care.
What on earth happened to imagination? I've posted before about the way everything seems to be taken so literally these days, with demands here, there and everywhere for people of all sorts to "see themselves reflected in advertising".
Please, please, please:
Bring back creative ideas.
Bring back universal human truths.
Bring back advertising as entertainment not a dull bloody reflection of real life.
All that will happen if this policing continues will be the emergence of new stereotypes which will quickly become as irrelevant and yawn-inducing as the old ones.
When I was little, I wanted to be a spy. I got off to a good start, studying Psychology at Trinity College, Cambridge but somehow got side-tracked into the wonderful world of advertising and marketing.
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