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Women in TV adverts

It’s hardly surprising that women are perceived as simpering airheads when you look at current TV advertising in the UK. I am horrified by the daily messages that we all need to improve ourselves for the appreciation of men.

Guys in advertising, take note:

  • Women do not go into a near-orgasmic state of ecstasy when they shave their legs. It’s a chore.
  • No shampoo, conditioner or hair colourant aimed at women is ‘powered by oil’. My central heating boiler is – but trust me, hair products are not. While we’re on the subject of hair, we can’t ‘train it strong’[er]. We can only train it to fall in a certain way. Sometimes.
  • Women don’t ‘feel pretty’ when they wear something to stop them leaking urine into their underwear. Ditto other female sanitary products. While we’re on that subject, women are not being ‘protected’. A person is ‘protected’ from something incoming, not outgoing.
  • Women with obviously false teeth shouldn’t be recommending a type of toothbrush or toothpaste. Why do you think they ended up with false teeth in the first place?
  • Women do not ‘dream’ of kitchens or bathrooms. These are functional spaces where many of us are expected to spend a lot of time when we’d rather be in front of the TV. Where you are.

Women do not ‘dream’ of luxury kitchens

In general, we are depicted as desperate to ‘know our place’ and better ourselves physically. We are told we must wear the ‘right’ clothes, eat the ‘right’ food, be addicted to wine, and use products to make our skin smooth and stop our feet hurting when we wear high-heeled shoes, which of course we do. Right. As for female-targetted gambling adverts, don’t get me started.

As always, there are exceptions. Applause for Lloyds Bank, Amstel Beer, Halifax, AA, and Volkswagen TV adverts. I was surprised to find they all come from the same agency – adam&eveDDB*. This agency is Campaign Agency of the Year 2018 for the fourth consecutive year, so I really shouldn’t be surprised. It says a lot both for the intelligence in their offerings and due recognition that male superiority belongs to previous centuries. Well done, guys and girls.

So, to the rest of you men in advertising, get out of this Neanderthal fantasy – get your heads out of the cave, your brains up a couple of floors and look around at the real women in the world today. Stop treating us like bimbos and you never know, we might even start to watch the adverts on TV instead of channel hopping while the rather insulting messages echo into empty space.

Gill Pavey



Lloyds (New Dawn), Halifax (The Wizard of Halifax), Volkswagen (T Roc – Born Confident), AA (singing baby), Amstel (The Smallest Bar in Amsterdam)

Campaign Agency of the Year 2018 adam&eveDDB



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