IPA comment on ASA gender stereotype rulings

Our response to the ASA's ruling on the VW and Mondelez ads.

IPA Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Richard Lindsay has called the ASA's first rulings under the new gender stereotype rule 'surprising and concerning'.

Says Richard Lindsay, Director of Legal and Public Affairs, IPA: "The ASA’s rulings on the VW and Mondelez ads are surprising and concerning and we question how either can really be considered likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

"The IPA welcomed the introduction of the new rule, but we stressed the importance of ensuring that its implementation, along with the accompanying guidance, avoided unintended, damaging consequences, such as the stifling of creativity or the creation of new stereotypes. These rulings raise many questions and are bound to cause confusion in the industry over whether, and if so, how, ads are able to feature people going about their daily lives.

"The ASA itself acknowledges in its report, 'Depictions, Perceptions and Harm', that most ads aren’t problematic. The introduction of the new rule and guidance – or the ASA’s interpretation of them - may be likely to cause more harm than good. We will be raising our concerns to the ASA on this issue."

The IPA has also prepared a fuller legal alert on the rulings for members.

Last updated 21 January 2022