Two adverts banned for breaking new gender stereotyping rules

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

Two adverts have been banned for falling foul of new rules surrounding gender stereotyping.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints about ads from computer manufacturer PC Specialist and freelance recruitment website PeoplePerHour.

PC Specialist’s TV ad saw three men performing different activities on computers, with a male voiceover stating: “For the players, the gamers, the ‘I’ll sleep laters’, the creators, the editors, the music makers. The techies, the coders, the illustrators.”

Eight people contacted the watchdog to complain that the ad implied only men were interested in technology.

PC Specialist claimed that its product, branding and services had been developed for its target audience, which is 87.5% male, and denied it implied that women were not interested in technology.

But the ASA disagreed and ruled that "the ad implied that excellence in those roles and fields would be seen as the preserve of men”. PC Specialist said it had pulled the ad and was carrying out internal training.

PeoplePerHour’s outdoor ad, which was created by George & Dragon and appeared on the London Underground in November, received 19 complaints.

It featured an image of a woman alongside the strapline: “You do the girl boss thing. We’ll do the SEO thing.”

PeoplePerHour claimed the term “girl boss” was a reference to a book, popular culture movement and professional network, but acknowledged that the “execution might unintentionally come across as sexist and demeaning to women”.

It said it had removed the word “girl” from the advert and published an apology on its website.

The ASA introduced new rules last June covering advertising that endorses harmful gender stereotypes.