What was meant to be a lighthearted TV advert for paint has become mired in a misogyny and sexism row with 215 complaints made to the advertising watchdog.
The Crown Paints advert tells the story of Hannah and Dave who met at an illegal rave four years ago, have settled down and are expecting a baby. It features them painting the spare room with a chorus of two dozen imaginary singers on their paint roller telling the couple’s story.
Dave wanted a baby and Hannah did not but then “one day out the blue” she did, throwing herself at Dave. The song continues: “Now the baby’s coming and they don’t know what it is. Hannah’s hoping for a girl, Dave’s just hoping that it’s his.”
The social media backlash began almost immediately with one Twitter user calling it an “absolutely disgraceful advert casting Hannah as a woman who sleeps around”.
Responding, Crown Paints said: “We’re sorry if you were upset by the remark in this advert – we were simply trying to tell the story of one of life’s most special moments in a lighthearted way.”
Others called it “misogynistic”, an example of “everyday sexism”, “in extremely poor taste”, and asked “are we still living in the 1970s?”
One Twitter user said: “Seriously bad advert. Women who don’t want children are constantly told they will change their minds. This advert just plays to that false narrative.”
The comedian Jenny Eclair tweeted: “Hey Crown Paints get that offensive baby ad off air. What were you thinking? What on earth possessed you?” She said she found the advert “massively offensive”.
The Advertising Standards Authority on Tuesday morning said it had received 215 complaints about the advert. A spokesperson added: “We’re currently assessing the complaints to determine if there is a potential problem under our rules and, if so, whether there are grounds for further action.
“The complaints are mainly focused on whether the content in the ad is appropriate to be shown on TV.”
The ASA said it was not investigating at this stage but reviewing complaints.
The advert is part of a new series from Crown Paints called Life Stories. Another tells the story of Luke, 31, whose mum still sees him as her baby bear, and a third that tells the story of Jen, who meets Kate on a speed date and finally paints her flat – “goodbye relationship drought!”
Crown Paints, based in Darwen, Lancashire, has apologised directly to many people who complained about the Hannah and Dave ad on social media.
In a statement, the company said: “This ad is one in a series that is intended to celebrate special moments in life in a humorous way.
“The characters of Hannah and Dave are shown to be in a happy relationship and preparing for their new arrival. There are no negative connotations intended from any of the lyrics and whilst the ad has been broadly well received, we recognise that people have differing tastes in humour.
“We apologise if any of the lines have caused offence.”