A TikTok post by dating site Match.com has been banned for perpetuating negative gender stereotypes which were likely to cause harm and widespread offence.
The post, seen on June 30, showed clips of a couple in their home, with one scene showing the man sitting in a chair with his feet up and on the phone 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 then said “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 and 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 Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that all of the gestures performed by the woman were domestic chores, namely making a drink and taking it to her partner, preparing towels for after his shower, and setting up the television so that he could watch a football game.
“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,” the regulator said.
“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 during which 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: “We considered that the longevity of the gestures implied that they were not one-off acts of kindness but were indistinguishable from chores.
“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.”
The ASA said it also took the ad title “Things that make him realise I’m a keeper” into consideration, saying: “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.”