A London-based startup has been swiping back at commuters online following a backlash over its tube campaign which was called out by some for being "sexist".
Mobile spa service USPAAH landed itself in hot water earlier this week thanks to a billboard it has been running in the UK capital's underground. The poster (above) featured a downtrodden looking man alongside text that read: 'Out with the guys ‘til 4am again…?! Keep her sweet with a spa mani/pedi at home.'
The implication that women could be easily appeased with a spa day coupled with the perceived stereotype that a woman's primary concern is for her appearance did not go unnoticed, prompting a an angry response for the brand on Twitter.
Those who took issue with the ad hijacked the campaign hashtag #SaveYourself to voice their concerns, with a few claiming that it highlighted why there's still a need for International Women's Day.
— Hauke Grün (@HaukeGruen) March 9, 2017
Hey, @USPAAH - you could keep me sweet by getting a new marketing director #everydaysexism pic.twitter.com/KBs18EGXzj — Chez McGee (@ChezMcGee) March 7, 2017
So much wrong with this advert @USPAAH what were you thinking?? Even more upset to see the company is run by women! #everydaysexism pic.twitter.com/EYQS7TF6KJ — Emma Hosgood (@EmmaHosgood) March 9, 2017
However, the company has taken to Twitter to retweet support for the "lighthearted" ad and to counter claims of misogyny.
@edvigeb yes, yes how very dare one partner in a relationship buy the other a gift to say sorry?! Get us to the protest right now! — U S P A A H (@USPAAH) March 9, 2017
@edvigeb we surveyed most annoying habits of partners. This was it in terms of light hearted reasons. This is not anti feminist in our mind — U S P A A H (@USPAAH) March 9, 2017
@stewartwpringle @Poppy_Corbett the funny thing is it's really not a brave play. We're just not sexist, apparently it's bad to defend that! — U S P A A H (@USPAAH) March 10, 2017
The brand also pointed people towards other posters from the campaign.
@missmillythomas Hi, this ad is part of a series which draw on anecdotal instances from our lives. We'll keep your feedback in mind for next pic.twitter.com/bNJqSC3fjp — U S P A A H (@USPAAH) March 9, 2017
The controversy comes as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) continued an unrelated investigation into gender strereotyping by brands, which could soon change the way the watchdog regulates campaigns which appear to objectify or sexualise women.