John Lewis has been forced to pull its latest home insurance ad starring a Stevie Nicks-loving boy in a dress rampaging around his home after the financial watchdog found it could potentially mislead consumers.
The department store’s “Let Life Happen” ad for its new home contents insurance first ran on October 11 and starred a young boy dressed in his mother’s make-up, dress, jewellery and heels, marching around his home smearing paint on the walls, kicking shoes at lamps, throwing an umbrella at a vase, spilling a glass and throwing glitter into the air.
However, John Lewis tweeted on Wednesday that it had withdrawn the ad because the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considered the content to be potentially misleading and could confuse customers about the insurance.
It clarified that its accidental damage cover was available as an add-on to John Lewis’s new home contents insurance product and only covered accidental, not deliberate, damage.
The retailer said in a statement: “You may have seen our ‘Let Life Happen’ advert for our new home contents insurance offering, which ran between 11 and 27 October 2021.
“This advert has been withdrawn because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading and could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis’s new home contents insurance offering.
“This was absolutely never our intention.
“The ‘Let Life Happen’ John Lewis home insurance advert was created to show a joyful depiction of a young actor getting carried away with his performance, oblivious of the unintentional consequences of his actions.
“We would like to clarify that accidental damage cover is available as an add-on to John Lewis’s new home contents insurance product and only covers accidental (not deliberate) damage.
“We have decided to contact every customer who purchased our new home contents insurance cover from 11 October to 31 October to confirm they understood these points and are happy with their purchase.”
An FCA spokesman said: “Financial services firms’ marketing must be clear, fair and not misleading.”
The ad had already caused controversy before the FCA’s decision, with some accusing it of “agenda-pushing” and sexism and others saying it depicted “male entitlement” and “gender extremism”.