Company Forced to Remove Ad Because it Used the Word ‘Girl’ in It
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority bans 'sexist' advert
A company specializing in freelancer hiring was forced to apologize and retrain its staff on 'sensitive language' after it published an advertisement with the word “girl” in it.
PeoplePerHour, a website that connects freelance workers with businesses, had its ad banned by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for an advertisement that featured a woman with the phrase: “You do the girl boss thing, we’ll do the SEO thing.”
The ad was banned by the ASA on the grounds that the phrase “girl boss” was sexist.
The advertisement, which appeared on London's underground trains, had a total of 19 complaints.
The ASA stated it “perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes” by presenting a “patronizing” depiction of women business owners, the Evening Standard reported.
Although PeoplePerHour initially defended the ad, arguing the phrase “girl boss” was popularised by American businesswoman Sophia Amoruso, they later admitted the wording “might unintentionally come across as sexist and demeaning to women."
The company removed the ad and issued a public apology on its website.
The ASA said the company has also undertaken training of its staff on being mindful of their language.
In a separate ruling by the ASA, computer firm PC Specialist was reprimanded after it was discovered they only men in its television commercial.
The advertising standards body argued the advert implied that only men were interested in gaming or coding.
The ASA has cracked down on a second wave of ads to fall foul of new rules around gender stereotyping – upholding complaints about ads from PeoplePerHour and PC Specialist https://t.co/M2CUlUBP2N pic.twitter.com/ayb8WzTjuW— Campaign (@Campaignmag) January 8, 2020
But PC Specialist stated that the ad accurately targetted its audience, with its target demographic being 87.5 percent males aged 15 to 35.
They argued that nowhere in the ad were women compared to unfavorably.
The ASA rejected their logic, saying:
“Although the guidance did not prohibit ads from featuring only one gender, we considered that because the ad strongly implied only men could excel in the specialisms and roles depicted, we concluded the ad presented gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the code.”
In June last year, the ASA began banning traditional 'harmful' family stereotypes from adverts as part of a new crackdown.
The new rules for advertisers include not using “gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense.”
The examples of violations include women failing to park a car, a man failing to change a diaper, or adverts that imply women are bound to domestic chores such as cooking and cleaning.