The advert for Cillit Bang, which shows the typical format of women spraying the product and wiping, has fallen foul of the self-regulatory advertising standards board after complaints from consumer groups.
Not only were men entirely absent from the campaign, which included three female central candidates and 32 other women all cleaning in the final multiscreen shot, but the advertising slogan was in the feminine form.
It involved three adverts in which a woman spoke to the camera while seen cleaning rooms in the house while extolling the virtues of each product.
Watch the offending advert here:
The fact that the slogan “pruébalo y cuéntanos tu misma” – Try it and tell yourself – was in the feminine form rather than the masculine form which would encompass both sexes, meant the advert was unequivocably targeting women alone.
The advert “presents women as solely responsible for undertaking housework” and as such was undeniably sexist.
In a ruling issued last month the regulatory board recognized that the adverts “show women as the only user of the promoted product” and therefore “were discriminatory for assigning a role according to gender”.
The advert had been refered to the board by Spain’s Consumer’s Association after a flurry of complaints.
“We appeal to producers, advertisers and the media to once and for all put a stop to sexist stereotypes that belong to the past and should have no place in modern society,” said a statement from Spain’s Consumers’ Association.
“Advertising that presents women according to stereotypical roles violates the foundation of our legal system and helps perpetuate gender violence,” it continued.
The group said the ruling by the advertising standards board represented a huge victory. “It is quite difficult to have an advertising campaign pulled just for being discriminatory because the fact that a only women might appear in a campaign isn’t enough for it to be considered sexist,” María Alvarez from the Consumers’ Association told El Mundo newspaper.
“But the protagonists teamed with the feminine form of the final phrase in this campaign made it a clear cut case,” she said.
In their defence, Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Cillit Bang argued that the advert showed “no harassment of women and indeed was designed to address the female audience who represent the majority buyers of the product.”