The controversy dogging John Lewis’ recent ‘boy in a dress’ ad continues, with the spot now banned in the UK by regulators for being “potentially misleading”. The ad has now been removed from all social media channels, although B&T has managed to post a version of it below.
For those unfamiliar with the highly publicised TVC, it features a young lad in a dress dancing to Steve Nicks’ classic Edge Of Seventeen while systematically trashing the family home. The spot’s advertising John Lewis’ latest home insurance product.
Called “Let It Happen”, when it debuted 10 days ago it caused a stink in the UK, not because of a kid in a frock, rather it was deemed “sexist” and “misogynistic” because the boy was seen to be having all the fun while the sister and mother are shown as joyless and in stereotypical women’s roles.
The ad’s the work of London creative agency Adam & Eve DDB and you can check out the offending spot below:
And now 2021’s most talked about ad is garnering even more press after the UK watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), banned it overnight, deeming it “confusing” and “misleading”.
Commenting on the ban, an FCA spokesman said: “Financial services firms’ marketing must be clear, fair and not misleading.”
In response, a spokesperson for John Lewis said: “You may have seen out ‘Let Life Happen’ advert for our new home contents insurance offering which ran between 11 and 27 October 2021.
“This advert has been withdrawn because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading and could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis’ new home contents insurance offering. This was absolutely never our intention.
“The ‘Let Life Happen’ John Lewis home insurance advert was created to show a joyful depiction of a young actor getting carried away with his performance, oblivious of the unintentional consequences of his actions.
“We would like to clarify that accidental damage cover is available as an add-on to John Lewis’s new home contents insurance product and only covers accidental (not deliberate) damage.
“We have decided to contact every customer who purchased our new home contents insurance from 11th October to 31st October to confirm they understood these points and are happy with their purchase.”
Twitter users appeared divided over the FCA’s decision to ban the ad.
One person commented: “Ridiculous. Great ad and so well done. Loved it too and I have two boys. Apparently, it was sexist and portrayed ‘boys will be boys’. Annoyed with all the political correctness in this country.
Another added: “I loved the advert. It takes away the serious side of home insurance.”
While a dissenter posted: “Home insurance is an expensive and serious product and shouldn’t be made into frivolous, nonsensical and totally inappropriate advert. Heaven knows what they were telling us was covered under their new insurance! Wilful damage comes to mind.”