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Swedish Facebook fury over 'sexist' shop ad

Swedish Facebook fury over 'sexist' shop ad

Published: 29 Oct 2012 11:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 29 Oct 2012 11:52 GMT+01:00

A Swedish supermarket chain commercial, perceived as sexist by outraged customers, has prompted thousands of comments on the shop’s Facebook page.

“We have certainly not meant to offend anyone,” said Coop press spokesman Magnus Nelin to The Local.

The commercial, featured below, was aired last week on Sweden’s TV4 and shows a woman shopping in a supermarket with a baby in a carrying device. While shopping, she repeatedly calls for “Liam”.

Finally, she finds him and it turns out that Liam is not a mischievous toddler escaping his mother but a middle-aged man who is checking out tools in the hardware department.

Many viewers reacted to the commercial, saying that it strengthens gender roles where women are in charge of household chores while men are irresponsible.

“You really have to look at this film as a small part of a larger picture. We wanted to show funny everyday situations that might occur in our shops,” said Nelin.

By Saturday some 8,000 people had liked a critical Facebook comment and almost 2,000 people had commented on the ads, according to daily Aftonbladet.

The comments varied between viewers finding the ad funny, those that were outraged, and those that were outraged by the discussion itself.

“What kind of idiots have thought up your last campaign,” one man wrote.

“Coop ridicules men and cements their irresponsibility. I don’t want to be portrayed that way,” another man wrote.

Others, however, took a different stance.

“Ignore the PC-brigade! I love your commercials,” one woman wrote on the page.

“I feel sorry for all the men who feel humiliated by the commercial. Can’t you just stop being silly,” another man wrote.

According to Nelin, most of the people that have been in touch with Coop about the commercial have been positive about the TV ads.

“But if we have made anyone feel as if we promote inequality or cemented existing gender roles, we want to apologize. All we meant to do was to depict our customers with a sense of humour and genuine warmth,” said Nelin.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:44 October 29, 2012 by JulieLou40
God, haven't people got anything better to do than complain at a funny advert? get a life!
13:32 October 29, 2012 by DAVID T
Swedish men need to grow some balls
13:38 October 29, 2012 by bnort
DAVID T, would you say they need to grow some...Swedish Meat Balls?
14:01 October 29, 2012 by Please Note:
Perhaps men should feature in adverts wearing makeup to ensure we do not gender stereotype (except in the Ikea Catalogue).
14:10 October 29, 2012 by Ddm
I don't believe in it. Men can't be like described above.
15:17 October 29, 2012 by FrauKuh
Just last week husband and I were in a big box store and I spent 20 minutes looking for him and here he was out in the car. So I can totally relate. Sorry guys.
18:18 October 29, 2012 by johan rebel
8,000 idiots with too much time on their hands.
23:40 October 29, 2012 by Uncle
ACTUALLY, just to be the devils advocate these opposers have a point. Except that they actually are getting money for it, unlike having a personal opinion.

In this ridiculously PC society, ANY joke about females (driving, shopping bags, walking on high wheels, trying to fix a computer) is a crazy taboo. Nobody even gets close to that without having ones head chopped off.

However constant jokes about idiot men in media are quite acceptable and encouraged. So far men were all OK with it with the view of "well, women have a glass ceiling, lower wages and bleed for 5 days a month, let them have a bit of fun on our account".

However I think that the strike on the nose once in a while should be in place. One cannot get equality parallel to the benefits of being the "weaker sex". It is the one or the other. Shall men be idiots? No problem (we just ruled the world for the last... mmm about 40 thousand years?), but this should come back as a boomerang. Equality, baby!
10:39 October 30, 2012 by skogsbo
The thing is, there is truth in the article, only its Clas Ohlson and biltema that are the day care centres for men of a certain age.

What all societies struggle with is accepting that men and woman ARE different, instead they keep pretending were are same and have identical traits.
13:12 October 30, 2012 by rise
The problem is the generation(s) of today is taking things all too personally. They're individualists whereas their parent's generation maybe was more into collectivism (and solidarity). Sometimes, in darker moments, I even call this age "the age of the narcissism".

When I watch this commercial I feel... nothing. Zero. Because the commercial isn't about ME.
10:16 October 31, 2012 by rramirez
There is no "fury"! Nobody cares about this. I was very excited when I moved to Sweden that there was an English language news site. Now I might come to The Local maybe once a week because so many of its stories are just silly and media generated. It compromizes the overall credibility of the site.
19:00 October 31, 2012 by dizzymoe33
This isn't discriminatory. When my step-dad walks into a store with my mom he makes a be-line right for the hardware/tool section. She is left alone to do all the shopping and then when she checks out with the groceries she spends 20 minutes looking for him. It is what it is nothing more and nothing to get your knickers in a bunch over!!
19:19 October 31, 2012 by Uncle
dizzymoe33

Nobody ever said that it is not realistic.

As realistic as greedy gold digger females who live on account of others, women who drive EXTREMELY badly and women who cannot fix a freaking DVD/Computer/iPhone/lamp. As realistic as women who cannot build a porch, cannot figure out how to connect to their own router, how to distinguish between the US politics in Vietnam vs Korea...

It is as reasonable as women who are afraid to complain about a very bad service, who cannot negotiate salary increase and who buy whatever a skilled electronics salesman shoves to them. All of the above is reasonable and everyone understands perfectly well what I am talking about here. Now go and try to make a commercial that ridicules the above commonalities. Let's see what happens to that ad agency.

The issue is the awful behaviour of females who sue for anything that is remotely reasonable, but feel free to ridicule men on every corner...
22:21 November 1, 2012 by dizzymoe33
@Uncle

Thank goodness I am not like the women you are describing in your comment!!! :o)

There will never be equality because men can and cannot do things as women can and the same with the women they can and cannot do things like the men. No big deal I just don't know why it is always an issue. If we were all the same it would get pretty boring.
14:08 November 18, 2012 by roundabout321
After all the education they go through and all the money advertisers make, nevermind the freebies they can live on.....it just makes you wonder... how does it happen that they cannot make a better advert than a me or you.
16:28 November 18, 2012 by wakeupdummy
@ dizzymoe33 you really are a sexist waste of space. Do run along now dear, my butt needs wiping.
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