Missguided, or Misunderstood?


Why banning the Missguided advert made the marketing campaign even more successful.

So, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have been at it again. In August 2019 we saw the first adverts controversially banned for perpetuating harmful gender stereotypes. The Volkswagen and Philadelphia cheese ads were banned for contravening UK gender stereotyping rules, despite the fact in the case of Philadelphia, they had obviously tried very hard to avoid being ‘non-PC’ by using a same-sex couple in the advert. Yet they fell foul, in the ASA’s all-important eyes, as some viewers took offence at the implication men are incapable of looking after children.

The latest advert to be banned is for the online shop Missguided’s Summer range, an advert that received a complaint because it ‘objectified women’.

But all this raises the question, are advertising agencies now creating adverts with the intention of getting banned?

Whatever you may think of the advert itself, the PR gained by being banned has drawn a lot more attention to it – in fact, a huge amount of attention, some may even say a ‘fantastic’ amount of attention.

And what's the first thing most people want to do when they read about this? That’s right, they want to watch the ad to see what the fuss is about. So, millions more eyes and ears, consuming the Missguided advert. Could it be, that being banned is exactly what Missguided wanted?

It’s possible we will see a trend develop now, where instead of taking on board the ASA’s increasingly strict guidelines and creating ads that tick all of their boxes, we see some advertisers deliberately creating content that breaks the rules.

So, what’s your view on this, great PR & marketing? Or an advert created in poor taste that got what it deserved? And if you haven’t seen the advert, judge it for yourself here: