Ad for cleaning device banned to suggest “unique” association with women

A television commercial for a scouring machine has been banned to suggest that cleaning the house is a responsibility only associated with women.

The three-minute TV commercial for the JML Hurricane Spin Scrubber, seen in March, showed several women using the cleaning tool in the bathroom, kitchen and elsewhere in the house.

Four women described their experiences with the tool in these terms: “I have a very busy household. People come in and out of my shower all the time, ”“ I love using the extension cord to get the rings out of the tub… Once my kids get out of the tub there’s always a ring around ”, and“ I gave this to my mom as a gift, and it changed the way she cleaned. I don’t have to worry about it slipping and falling.

The last woman described how she had previously been embarrassed to have people in her house because of the lime deposits in the crevices which were difficult to clean but no longer worried after using the product, saying she ” (d) now loved to have people come and inspect my kitchen and bathrooms ”.

A male voiceover concluded, “To get your hands on the Hurricane Spin Scrubber and a sparkling clean home call now, or visit jmldirect.com.”

The complainant, who believed that the advertisement perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes by portraying women in a stereotypical female role and implying that only women were cleaning or were interested in cleaning products, contested whether she was breaking the rules of the advertisement .

John Mills Ltd, operating as JML, said the ad had been running since 2017, focused on product functionality and featured two snapshots of men.

The company said the ad did not suggest that cleaning was associated with women only and that there was no suggestion that a man was unable to undertake any of the tasks described.

Clearcast advertising clearance agency said the ad at no point suggested that cleaning was associated only with women.

Confirming the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that ads may feature people assuming stereotypical gender roles, such as showing women doing housework, but they should be careful to avoid suggesting that the roles or stereotypical characteristics are always uniquely associated with a gender.

The ASA said the testimonies of the four women “contained a number of explicit references to cleaning up after other people and involved feelings of shame towards other people seeing a dirty house.”

There was no implication that the men briefly featured in the ad would share any such responsibilities or feelings.

“We took into account the cumulative effect of the four testimonials, the importance of easily identifiable cleaners as women and the lack of easily identifiable men, perpetuating the stereotype that it was the responsibility of a woman to be clean. ‘take pride in the way their home looks and clean, and clean up after others.

“It also perpetuated the idea that women should be judged on the cleanliness of their homes.”

The ASA decided that the ad should not appear again in its current form, adding: only associated with women.

Jai Whiting, JML, said, “The Hurricane Spin Scrubber has been running as a 30-minute infomercial since 2017 and features a balanced portrayal of male and female actors. We recently changed this to fit a three minute ad space and selected what seemed like the best shots of the product used to fit the new period.

“It was not our intention to offend or implicate stereotypes with the editing. We re-edited the film as soon as the gender imbalance was brought to our attention and a new film is already on the air. We have revised our internal processes to ensure that a more in-depth review of re-released films takes place in the future. “

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