Ad description

A TV ad for Hoover, for the H-Wash 500 washing machine and hOn app, seen in October and November 2021, featured a man doing laundry. He picked out a jumper from the laundry basket whilst a woman brought him a mobile phone. The woman then held the jumper up whilst the man used the app to take a picture of it and its label. He then put the jumper into the washing machine. As he was about to add the laundry detergent to the machine, he looked up to the woman who nodded to him.


Two complainants, who believed the ad perpetuated a harmful gender stereotype by suggesting that men were less capable and knowledgeable about doing laundry than women, challenged whether it breached the Code.


The advertiser said the ad showed a couple working equally as a team whilst also showing the features of the hOn app and the washing machine, to improve efficiency whilst doing laundry at home.

They said any person, no matter their gender, when operating a new technology or following a new process would look for guidance and instruction to increase their familiarity. The woman was following the guidance of the hOn app and therefore was the person who would be sought out for confirmation of steps. This would have still applied if both persons in the ad were of the same gender.

Clearcast endorsed the advertisers’ comments, and particularly highlighted that the advert showed the man and woman as equally proficient at the task. The ad showed them working together to use the app to take a photo of the item of clothing and its label, so they both knew on which setting it needed to be washed. Together they used the app and machine to help them determine how much detergent needed to be added to the machine.


Not upheld

The BCAP Code stated “Advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”. The joint CAP and BCAP guidance said that gender-stereotypical roles included occupations or positions usually associated with a specific gender, while gender-stereotypical characteristics included attributes or behaviours usually associated with a specific gender. The guidance provided examples which were likely to be unacceptable, which included “An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man’s inability to change nappies; a woman’s inability to park a car”.

The ad presented a scenario of a man and a woman doing laundry together whilst using an app on their phone that gave information on how the item of clothing should be washed. The complainants were concerned that the ad suggested that the man was incapable of doing the laundry without the help of a woman.

We acknowledged that performing domestic chores, such as laundry, was stereotypically seen as the responsibility of women. However, we considered that in the context of the ad as a whole, viewers would understand that the man and the woman were working together as equals to perform the task whilst familiarising themselves with the app.

The ad included a scene of the man pouring detergent into the machine drawer and, before doing so, he looked to the woman, and she nodded. After she nodded to him, he continued with the task. We considered that the scene did imply that the woman was providing confirmation to the man about one aspect of the process, including whether he was following the app’s advice correctly. However, the overall focus of the ad was on the couple working together and learning how to use new technology. The man was seen actively participating in the domestic task and we did not consider that it implied he was not capable or knowledgeable or depicted him as failing to achieve the tasks because of his gender. Therefore, we did not consider that the ad perpetuated harmful gender stereotypes and we concluded that it did not breach the Code.

The ad was investigated under BCAP Code rule  4.14 4.14 Advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.
See Advertising Guidance: “Depicting gender stereotypes likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence?
 (Harm and offence), but was not found in breach.


No further action required.



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