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Cream Cheese Advert Based on Hapless Dads Banned by Gender Stereotyping Regulations

Philadelphia manufacturer Mondelez will pull the ad after the Advertising Standards Authority weighed in

Two men stand in a blue restaurant — one is eating a cream cheese bagel, with a baby carrier on a conveyor belt. It is part of a Philadelphia cream cheese advert banned under gender stereotyping regulations Aban Commercials

Two “dopey dads” and their adventure in an extremely strange conveyor belt restaurant that only served baked goods spread with Philadelphia cream cheese will never grace the nation’s TV screens ever again.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned the advert, saying that it “relied on the stereotype that men were unable to care for children as well as women and implied that the fathers had failed to look after the children properly because of their gender.” 128 people complained to the authority, according to Bloomberg — this follows new advertising regulations, that mandate that adverts “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.”

The arguments against the ruling, from U.S. food giant Mondelez and Clearcast, which pre-approves adverts for broadcast, are pretty entertaining. Clearcast said: “the dads’ agreement to “let’s not tell mum” was a “commonplace exclamation signifying embarrassment” that could equally be applied in role reversal, and represented a “careless, momentary and harmless distraction.”

Research into the effects of subtle coding in gender advertising shows that the proliferation of these codes is damaging; they feed into ideas about who gets to do what, cook what, be great at those things — think of the enduring supermarket adverts in which women ferry heaving platters to the family table while the men munch on MEAT; think of the cultural baggage around M E N G R I L L I N G M E A T. Goodbye to the hapless dads, and, goodbye to the strange dystopian restaurant in which cream cheese bagels are ferried around on an infinite loop of conveyor belts.

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