Boden apologises for 'sexist' marketing following gender stereotype criticism

The mishap comes little over a month since the ASA cemented its new rules on gender stereotyping / Boden

British retailer Boden has apologised for running a series of "sexist" print executions that perpetuated gender stereotypes.

The copy, printed in the latest issue of the fashion brand's Mini Boden catalogue, courted criticism online after characterising boys as adventurers and girls as flower collectors.

One page read: "Boys start every adventure with: a bike (or a pair of very fast legs), fellow mischief makers and clothes than can keep up'. The corresponding copy to promote girls clothes said: 'Girls, new clothes are in sight. Fill your pockets (and wardrobe) with flowers and race this way."

The mishap comes little over a month since the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) cemented its new rules on gender stereotyping, which ban marketing that emphasises contrast between a boy’s stereotypical personality traits and a girl’s. However, the regulator confirmed to The Drum that despite the uproar online – sparked by a tweet from father Sam Williams – it had recieved no official complaints.

Responding to the original tweet, Boden said: "We're so sorry for blotting our copybook in such style. While it wasn’t our intention to ever stereotype the roles of boys and girls, we probably over-egged things a little here.

"At Boden, we are totally committed to gender equality, and firmly believe in equal roles roles and opportunities for boys and girls – in fact, we have a male founder and a female chief executive.

"We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention, and will ensure that such a mishap doesn't happen again. Please accept our sincere apologies. And we will ask Don Draper to stop writing our copy."

Boden isn't the first brand to land in hot water over gender stereotyping. Back in 2016 Gap faced a backlash online over an ad for its GapKids clothing range. The image juxtaposed a young boy wearing an Einstein t-shirt, with a caption that read: "The Little Scholar: Your future starts here' with that of a young girl, accompanied with the strapline 'The social butterfly."

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