Four complaints made about Harvey Nichols Christmas ad, ‘walk of shame’, including three suggesting that it made it seem like lower class women should be ashamed of a one-night stand, while more wealthy women should feel proud, have been dismissed by the ASA.
Other complaints included that the ad by DDB was sexist, reinforced negative stereotypes of women, that a pair of ripped tights suggested sexual violence and that it mocked less wealthy women and those who did not have 'model' figures.
Harvey Nichols replied that its intention had been to raise a smile by reminding people of a familiar hazard of the Christmas party season and to suggest, playfully, that a woman's choice of outfit could go some way to offsetting the tendency for judgement at the ‘walk of shame’ the next morning.
It said the ad only depicted women making their way home, and had deliberately not shown a man in the opening scene, where a women was seen leaving a house, to ensure people would not draw the conclusion that she had had a one-night stand – but could simply have been staying over at a friend’s house.
It added that the ad featured women with a range of body-shapes, ranging from size 8 to size 18.
The ASA said: “We considered the ad did not, therefore, reinforce negative stereotypes of women generally, or women who chose to have casual sex in particular, nor that it was sexist or demeaning to women.
“We noted the ad depicted women of a range of sizes and in a variety of dress styles. We also noted they were shown in a range of locations and situations which did not necessarily suggest they belonged to a specific social class or had a certain level of wealth. We therefore considered the ad did not imply that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame whilst more wealthy women should feel proud, or that it mocked less wealthy women who did not have 'model' figures.”
The body therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.