Ad description

A post by ukmatch on TikTok, seen on 30 June 2022, showed clips from a day in the life of a couple. A female voice-over stated, “Things that make him realise I’m a keeper. I will make him his protein shake after the gym.” This was heard whilst viewers saw the man sitting down on his phone with his feet up on a footrest, and the woman brought him a drink before proceeding to kiss him. The voice-over then said, “I always make sure he has a fresh towel and socks after his shower” whilst the woman in the video was shown arranging a towel and pair of socks in the bathroom. The voice-over then stated, “I put the football on for him every evening” as the couple were shown standing up, watching football on the TV, with the woman holding the remote. The voice-over then stated, “Find your keeper via Match. Go download the Match app today.”


The complainant, who believed that the ad was sexist and perpetuated negative gender stereotypes, challenged whether it was harmful and offensive.

Response International Ltd explained that they intended to demonstrate that small gestures between couples were integral to successful relationships. They clarified that their agency contacted real couples and asked them to show the everyday thoughtful gestures that they both performed for each other. They confirmed that a script had not been provided to the couple that featured in the ad. They emphasised that the aim was to focus on genuine small acts of kindness within a relationship. also highlighted that the ad formed part of a three-video storyline which featured the same couple, and that the ad should be viewed in that context. They further added that all three ads were published on the same date and, as such, viewers would have been able to watch all three videos consecutively which they believed would provide a balanced and reciprocal view of the featured couple’s relationship. One video was titled “Things that make me realise he’s a keeper” which said focused on the other side of the relationship and the small gestures carried out by the man for her. The other video was titled “Small gestures we do for each other that makes me realise he’s a keeper” and highlighted gestures that they did for each other. They said that when the three ads were viewed together that the gestures were not one-sided and that there was no contrast in significance between the actions carried out by the man and the woman. They re-iterated that the gestures shown in the ad were not time-intensive. They also said that, although the woman was shown to carry out the gestures in a domestic setting, that they did not believe that implied she had to do a larger portion of domestic chores. Instead, Match highlighted that the couple were shown to be loving towards each other and that the male partner did not act in a manner which suggested he expected the gestures. For those reasons, they believed that the ad did not portray that women must be subservient to men or that women should shoulder the burden of domestic chores. conceded that the ad, when viewed in isolation, did not convey the full story of the couple’s relationship. However, they asserted their belief that the content of the ad did not cause serious or widespread offence. They said that, whilst the gestures carried out by the woman in the ad could be deemed by some to be overly gender typical, they focused on featuring a diverse group of couples in their marketing communications and that the gestures presented in the ad were authentic to that couple and reflected their genuine relationship. believed that the ad had not breached the CAP Code, but confirmed that they had removed the ad from TikTok. They also acknowledged that it would have been more appropriate to include gestures carried out by both individuals in the same ad to avoid any perceived inequality between the couple.



The CAP Code stated that advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that were likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence. CAP guidance said that ads may feature people undertaking gender-stereotypical roles, but they should take care to avoid suggesting that stereotypical roles or characteristics were always uniquely associated with one gender. Gender stereotypical roles included occupations or positions usually associated with a specific gender; for example, women carrying out domestic chores.

The ASA understood that the ad sought to highlight small gestures of kindness performed in relationships and that the ad centred on the actions carried out by a woman for her male partner in their relationship. However, we noted that all of the gestures performed by the woman were domestic chores; namely, making a drink and bringing it to her partner, preparing towels for after his shower, and setting up the television so that he could watch a football game. Whilst we acknowledged that the ad was unscripted and based on a real couple’s relationship, we considered that the gestures shown in the ad were nonetheless stereotypically associated with the female gender. Because the ad relied on the stereotype of a woman carrying out domestic chores in order to please her male partner, we considered that viewers would interpret the ad as reinforcing a negative gender stereotype.

We further noted that the actions of the woman were one-sided and were not reciprocated by the man in the ad. Whilst we acknowledged that the ad formed part of a wider campaign and that another ad focused on the man’s gestures, we considered that was not evident when viewing the ad and, furthermore, it was not referenced in the ad that the man would reciprocate any of the gestures. Instead, we considered that the man was portrayed as passive whilst the woman performed the domestic chores around him; in particular, we noted that when the woman brought her partner a drink, he was sat down with his feet up on a footrest, which we considered created an impression of an unequal relationship between the couple.

We also reviewed the voice-over in the ad and considered that it suggested that the gestures were habitual and were undertaken by the woman regularly. For example, the voice-over stated, “I always make sure he has a fresh towel and socks after his shower” and “I put the football on for him every evening”. We considered that the longevity of the gestures implied that they were not one-off acts of kindness but were indistinguishable from chores. We also considered that the voice-over highlighted that the actions were done for the benefit of the man, not the woman. Given that, and in the absence of any reciprocal gestures by the man, we considered that the woman was shown to prioritise her partner’s needs over her own. We also took the ad title “Things that make him realise I’m a keeper” into consideration. We understood that within that context, “a keeper” meant someone with whom you could envisage having a long, successful relationship. We considered that the title, when viewed in the context of the ad, reinforced the idea that women should be subservient to men in order to maintain a successful relationship.

For those reasons, we concluded that the ad perpetuated negative gender stereotypes and was likely to cause harm and widespread offence.

The ad breached CAP (Edition 12) rules  1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.  (Social Responsibility),  4.1 4.1 Marketing communications must not contain anything that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of: age; disability; gender; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation. Compliance will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards.

Marketing communications may be distasteful without necessarily breaching this rule. Marketers are urged to consider public sensitivities before using potentially offensive material.
The fact that a product is offensive to some people is not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. 
 and  4.9 4.9 Marketing communications 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).


The ad must not appear in the form complained of. We told International Ltd to ensure that they did not portray sexist or negative gender stereotypes in future marketing communications.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

1.3     4.1     4.9    

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