An advertisement by dating site Match.com has been banned for “perpetuating negative gender stereotypes”.
The TikTok video showed clips of a couple at home, with one clip showing the man sitting in a chair in a relaxed position, while a female voiceover said: “Things that make him realise I’m a keeper. I will make him his protein shake after the gym.”
The voiceover continued: “I always make sure he has a fresh towel and socks after his shower”, and “I put the football on for him every evening”.
The ad ended with the woman saying: “Find your keeper via Match. Go download the Match app today.”
A viewer, who believed that the ad was sexist and perpetuated negative gender stereotypes, challenged whether it was harmful and offensive.
Match.com said the ad formed part of a three-video storyline, which also showed gestures carried out by the man for the woman.
The site confirmed it had removed the ad from TikTok, as well as acknowledged that it would have been more appropriate to include gestures carried out by both individuals in the same clip to avoid any perceived inequalities.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that all of the gestures performed by the woman were domestic chores, namely making a drink for her partner, preparing towels him, and setting up the television so that he could watch a football game.
The regulator said: “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.”
Referring to the voiceover, the watchdog added: “We considered that the longevity of the gestures implied that they were not one-off acts of kindness but were indistinguishable from chores.”
In the ad, the woman said she “always” made sure the man had a fresh towel and socks and put the football on for him “every evening”.
The ASA added: “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.”
Regarding the title of the ad, the regulator said: “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 ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again, adding: “We told Match.com to ensure that they did not portray sexist or negative gender stereotypes in future marketing communications.”