Feminism

Asda Christmas Ad – MartyrMum Strikes Again

I am flabbergasted at Asda’s Christmas ad.

 

There are people in this country who sat down, thought up this ad, presented it to another group of people, one or several of whom said, ‘I love it, darling!’ and then went on to produce it and put it on national TV.

Did no one think, ‘Hey, hang on. Isn’t this a bit sexist?’.

And bloody insulting to men.

 

I have a massive problem with crap ads that show MartyrMum doing everything to make Xmas special. Dad is relegated to helping to carry the Xmas tree (cause of course silly Mum can’t be expected to know that the tree won’t fit in the car, or make up her mind where to put it) and looking on with pride as his wife carries in the turkey.

Mum, after setting the table, peeling a mountain of spuds, preparing the turkey and all the trimmings doesn’t even get a seat at the table. She collapses onto a pouffe.

‘The supermarket used insight from its rolling ‘Mumdex’ survey of 4,000 mums to produce the advert as part of a wider strategy to reshape its business around what it identifies its key customers, mums’ according to Marketing Week.

As an aside, I find the word ‘Mumdex‘ horribly twee, and a bit reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s ‘binders full of women’.

I would be very interested to know how they surveyed the mothers, and why they decided to go for mothers in particular. And why they thought that this ad would do the trick.

I am fed up with the MartyrMum image that we mothers are being shoved into.

There are great mums and crap mums, there are mums who have the support of a fabulous partner – who might SHOCK HORROR – even be another woman. There are mums doing it all alone, and mums who would be as well alone for all the help their useless husband gives them. There are mums who are caring for their parents, for sick children, and mums who are being cared for by their families. There are families without mums, single parents, one dad, two dads.

What does this advert say about families? That we are all in a traditional set up with MartyrMum and DIYDad.

What does this ad say about motherhood? That we are doormats who do everything to make the family Christmas great.

 

I also have a huge problem with advertising that perpetuate the myth of useless Dad, who can’t be trusted to cook the dinner without burning it, or do a load of washing without dying everything pink. This in turn perpetuates the myth that housework is women’s work cause they are better at it. Which is absolute fecking nonsense.

My husband is convinced that there are men who deliberately make a total hash of chores, in the hope that their wife/partner will roll her eyes and declare him to be hopeless, ‘You just need to scorch your wife’s favourite blouse to never be asked again to do the ironing, he insists. (Not that he has ever done this, he is a dab hand with the iron, I have to say).

 

You want to know how Christmas is in our house? I order the gifts online, wrap them last minute while shouting at whoever had the sellotape last. The tree is chosen and decorated together with the children, and we share the preparations. I do most of the cooking, because I like to cook while he amuses the kids, sometimes taking them on a walk to run off some steam. We clear up the kitchen together, not as in the Asda ad, where MartyrMum slaves away while the rest of the family lounges around.

 

This ad reduces families to a simple and patronising stereotype, ignoring the realities of life in 2012. I don’t see myself, or my family when I watch that ad. Do you?

 

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30 Comments

  • Natalia

    Agree: Awful. As you said, it perpetuates stupid stereotypes. And yes, no one saying “this ad is actually crap” says a lot about Asda. Grr and I shop with them online, budgeting and all that…

  • Cariad Martin

    Thanks for articulating why this ad was so bogus, I couldn’t think of the right words because it made me so mad.

    It’s definitely not what I recognise as Xmas, and I think in general my family conform to gender roles in the household.

    I don’t understand why you’d be happy if you did it all yourself? I love Xmas because everyone pitches in. We all go shopping together and buy & hang the decs together, etc. The spending time together bit is the fun bit!

  • Mummy Barrow

    Amen

    And on top of that there are an increasing number of families headed by single dads or two dads. What does this say to them? Or to their children? Their Christmas is going to be rubbish because they don’t have a mum, let alone one organising Christmas.

    I wish I shopped in Asda so i could boycott them but I detest our local Asda so never go in. I shall rant at my TV every time I see this nonsense.

  • Kate

    Saw a quote online from an ASDA spokesperson saying that “Our ad depicts what many of the 16 million mums who shop in Asda tell us they feel”. The Mumdex survey asked 0.025% of those customers. Not exactly “many” of them at all!

  • Mammasaurus

    The first time I saw that ad I noticed Twitter lit up to the tweets of ‘stereotypical bollocks ASDA’ – for me there’s another issue – it’s only the beginning of bloody November!

    • Lynn C Schreiber

      oh, yes. Good point. Xmas comes earlier every year, it seems.

      (apologies for replying so late – just discovered this in my spam folder)

  • Karen

    I don’t shop at Asda, they may be very cheap, but I loathe them, so I can’t boycott their shops. I would if I could!
    Definately not like that in our house, we split the work, I may do most of the cooking (because I enjoy it, am a bit of a control freak and don’t like help in my kitchen, but he helps prep veg, he sets the table, he entertains the kids, he helps choose and wrap gifts, and he helps with the clean up and stuff afterwards. There would be no way I’d be contemplating doing anything at Christmas if he wasn’t pitching in to help! Asda adverts always annoy me, this one is very annoying!!

  • Pyrogenius

    Seconded, you’re right. Wasn’t that long ago a certain Alan Sugar lambasted a team for creating an ad very similar for a cleaning product. Wonder if he’d like to be reminded of that now and stand up to the sexist marketing agencies who come up with this drivel.

    Team effort in our house too, in fact I taught my partner to cook and now she insists on cooking as she enjoys it. I get all the clearing up.

    Finally, christmas on your own is shit and these ads make it more so. Even not being on your own and having the constant images of massive consumerism forced on your retina can tip people over the edge.

  • Zakia

    “an increasing number of families headed by single dads or two dads. What does this say to them? Or to their children?”
    I’ve just watched the ad and hadn’t thought about it that way and you are absolutely right Mummy Barrow. Thank you for opening my perspective on this.

    As for the ad itself, I have to say, I did’t think it sexist or find it offensive. To me, it opens a window letting everyone see the the hoops Mums go through, the effort etc. it takes to make Christmas special. Here is a Mum striving for perfection through hard work and determination.

    I think there would be a lot of Mums out there who would be thinking “thank God someone is telling my side of the story.” I know if I didn’t get stuck in like the woman in the ad, Christmas wouldn’t happen in my house – not for any other reason than my husband works so hard and family are all over the country.

    I don’t feel like a doormat or a martyr, I feel like we’re a hard working family and I am superwoman!

    • Lynn C Schreiber

      I don’t doubt that there are plenty of households where this is a true to life representation of Xmas. I just don’t think it reflects the majority of households in UK.

      The bit that really irked me was that she got the worst seat at the table. It shows a lack of respect towards the person they are supposedly glorifying.

      • Zakia

        “I just don’t think it reflects the majority of households in UK.” I’m not sure what research your comment is based on. I would disagree. It’s not going to be true to life – it’s a made up ad. I would say that most households could empathise with parts of the fictitious scenario’s presented.

        You see her getting the worst seat – makes for better drama. You don’t see someone protesting that she did all the work and “no,no, please take my seat,” because that would be dull viewing.

        I wonder if Superman ever felt he was pigeon holed?

        • Lynn C Schreiber

          I haven’t based my observation on research, but on the evidence of friends and families around me.

          Whether it makes for better TV or not – the dismissive way in which the work of the woman is portrayed, and the lack of respect from her family is not (in my personal surroundings) representative of family life in UK. And it shouldn’t be seen as ‘acceptable’ or amusing.

          • Zakia

            Perhaps we all need to broaden our views and widen our circles.
            “And it shouldn’t be seen as… amusing.” really? wow! – ok, I’m outta here!

  • Jenny (@cheetahsinshoes)

    oh dear god. Why did someone at Asda not turn around and say NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I shall heckle the television if it dares show me this advert – it’s just gruesome. I don’t shop at Asda, mainly because I can’t hack shopping with the hoards of parents at our semi-local stores who address their children as “you little f*cker* most of the time

  • Damson Lane

    I hadn’t seen the advert before now. I totally agree it is utterly ridiculous. This image of the downtrodden ‘MartyrMum’ is very dated but unfortunately it reminds me of my mother-in-law who incidentally shops at Asda, so perhaps this does reflect their customers which is EVEN MORE depressing!!!

  • IncognitoLinda

    My jaw almost hit the floor when I saw this ad. It’s truly, truly awful. There is not a hint of diversity, it’s completely heteronormative, it demeans women and men and is utterly lacking in any form of imagination. It’s lazy.

    I don’t know of a single woman who would willingly and happily do all the things MartyrMum does with a smile on their face. I don’t know a single man who would let her.

    It was a lazy campaign when Boots did it lat year, it’s even worse this year.

  • Giraffeonastick

    Perhaps we should all round on @vix_asdapr and ask her: she’s part of the team responsible for this hideous thing.

    A Tweep on my timeline said “the new @asda advert is making me a tad hormonal. well done @vix_asdapr and team for a great advert- that is exactly how I felt last year!!”

    When I challenged her she couldn’t say why she thought it was good, other than it capturing Christmas for her.
    I think we know where Asda surveyed their people….

  • Pepita Palotes

    well, I have to say.. really most mums can portray ourselves on this adverts, of course there are diverse types of families, I myself am a single mum who has no help, no man to slave to.. still I try to do all the things a mum does, and sorry stereotypes are very general but this is what Asda focuses on, the general public. In the society we live on single dads don’t generally do all that single mums do, sorry but I have spoken with them (kids every other week end, not sure if there is a function at the school or doing homework every evening) and men in general do other things, are better at other things, like other things, generally, etc.
    When I see the Asda ad I see a harsh reality that we all know too well. who doesn’t give a second thought to Christmas? quiet few.. but it wouldn’t sell..
    at least you can be happy they didn’t say who Father Christmas is! I bet you’d be furious!

  • Secret Santa

    So true, I can’t see perpetuating the all-serving mother image, the MartyrMum (great word), does anyone any favours. She does everyone, everyone else is useless, and she doesn’t even get any credit (I think the moment with the pouffe is the most insidious in the whole sorry affair).

    The excuse that it “reflects reality” doesn’t really hold up in my book. I mean, there are still many parts of society with racist ideas or prejudice against gay people. Would it be acceptable to see this blithely reflected back at us because “that’s the reality” in many homes or workplaces? I don’t think so…

    It will be interesting to see how this ad fairs in our annual poll on the best and worst over at christmasadvert.com. Last year, the Littlewoods ad got taken apart in a similar atmosphere of (perfectly justified imho) indignation.

    PS the word “Mumdex” makes me shiver at the abuse of the English language

  • Christopher Horner

    I agree with everything you say. This just reinforces tired gender stereotypes, women are told that being a domestic drudge is something to inspire too and men are told they’re useless bumbling fools.

  • Greg Chapman

    Christ!!!!

    You lot need to get over yourselves, the advert is a lighthearted view of an average household, it sounds like a militant lesbian march on here, My mum always did the best at christmas and my wife now is better at prep than me, does that make me a bumbling fool???

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