If there’s one ad the entire globe holds its collective breath for it has to be British retailer John Lewis’ annual – and typically epic – Christmas work.
Not that its marketing is confined to the festive season, John Lewis dropping a new campaign in the UK this week plugging its latest home insurance product.
The ad, by London creative agency Adam & Eve DDB, is called “Let life happen” and features a young boy in a dress and makeup dancing to Steve Nicks’ classic Edge Of Seventeen while systematically trashing the family home. Check it out below:
Yet, despite the fun, not everyone is happy with John Lewis’ latest effort and arguably not for the reason you’d most expect.
If you thought a lad in a frock was the reason for the hate, you’d be wrong. Instead, the ad’s detractors are calling it sexist, as the young man is having all the fun while the women featured – the boy’s mother and sister – are shown in joyless, stereotypical women’s roles.
Viewers quickly took to Twitter to slam the “sexist” ad, calling it “narcissistic, destructive, aggressive and misogynistic”.
Another added: “I saw sexualisation of a male child imitating OTT (over the top) feminised posturing, who was also acting like a bully and vandal…”
Writing for the UK media site Campaign, Ogilvy managing director Vic Day (whose son is openly gay) said the spot had made him “wince”.
“It wasn’t the word inclusion that came to mind, it was the word stereotype – despite what I imagine were best intentions,” Day wrote. “Here’s the problem. We want to see better representation on our screen. I want my son to feel that he has his place in the world like anyone else. But how do you represent something that is not necessarily visible like sexuality or, in many cases, gender identity? In this case the solution was to make it explicit by leaning on recognisable stereotypes.”
The ad’s attracting so much hate (see the pick of it below), that John Lewis has been forced to issue a statement defending the work. Read it below:
Here’s how social media haters reacted.
Although the spot also had its supporters. One person tweeting: “Imagine being a grown adult and being genuinely angry, annoyed or upset that a little lad is running around the house in a princess dress on a john lewis advert hahahaha.”
While another added: “People already having a rant about that boy in the John Lewis advert dressing up???”
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