The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week banned an advertisement from furniture group MFI because it had received complaints that it trivialised domestic violence. See the full ruling here (link).
The ASA said "The woman's action of slapping her husband twice as punishment for leaving the toilet seat up gave the impression that aggression and violence enabled people in everyday life to get their own way. The scene of domestic violence was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and could be seen to condone intimidation, domestic violence and aggression as an acceptable way to resolve issues.”
In the adverts, produced by advertising group M&C Search, domestic scenes are played out in their stores and finish with the end credit "feel right at home".
In the articles that followed, MFI were quoted in the Daily Mail (link) as stating "The dialogue and action was vigorous but it was not offencive or shocking." In addition, complaints had been made on five of their ads with the domestic violence one being upheld.
The Daily Mail stated 'Responding to the investigation, MFI said the five commercials had aimed to be an original, humorous take on common domestic scenes'. They try and defend the ad!
What is concerning is the fact that MFI and M&C Search did not even think that this is offencive, trivialises domestic violence and would upset the thousands of male domestic violence victims who already are bereft of help and support. It did not even cross their radar. It is almost as though they think it is acceptable behaviour and that raises a real social problem that male victims face, the lack of acceptance that their plight is serious.
The last point, is the usual one. If this ad had featured a man hitting a women, firstly, the outcry would have been deafening. But as ever, nothing from the Equal Opportunities Commission and other equalities groups because it was a man who was the domestic violence victim.