Thinking Space

on that ASDA Christmas advert…

I’m not normally one to get involved in an advertising debate. Working within the business, I can usually see both sides. I know the usual to and fro between a client and the agency and how an ad ends up the way it is. But occasionally an ad turns up that strikes a nerve, and in this case it’s the new ASDA Christmas campaign.

I know what they’re trying to get at. Mums are usually the driving force behind Christmas, that is realistic. And ‘ASDA mums’ is one of their key marketing techniques so it’s fair that they want to play on that. They’re trying to compliment and praise the women who make the magic happen for their families. And I commend that.

However…This ad just manages to miss the mark. Showing the woman running around doing all of the work, cooking, cleaning, domestic chores etc without a finger lifted to help. As Gail Parminter from Madwomen puts it ‘Whilst the ad praises mum, Asda is clearly quite happy to rely on and reinforce the traditional stereotypes of woman’s role in life – presented here as being the sole one in charge and doing all the work at Christmas. ‘

This is what I find really difficult about the ad. It enforces a negative stereotype, setting the woman’s role back about 50 years. And although there are still elements of the realistic here, how can we honestly expect change if we continue to enforce this through advertising?

The same can be said of the marketing of many domestic products. It is not wrong to show women in these adverts, but unless we start to close the gender gap and showing more equality then our stereotyped roles will remain.


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