Gender divides: 8 incredibly sexist ads from this century

According to a new study, Unpacking Gender Bias in Advertising, gender equality is still a pipe dream in commercial media. Females appear 50% less frequently in screen adverts compared with their male counterparts, with 25% of all ads involved in the study featuring no women whatsoever, compared with just 5% that ignore men altogether.
The numbers are pretty shocking, and a huge indictment of the industry on the whole. But there’s more to this story of sexism than meets the eye.
Whilst men dominate advertising screen time, how they are depicted has been a bone of contention for years now, with the most common reading of men being white, hapless, borderline moronic, but often pretty buff. The vision has become so prevalent Mintel published a report in 2016 centred on ‘hunkvertising’, detailing the impact this trend is having on life goals and expectations- 45% of male respondents value a great gym bod over marriage (38%), kids (23%) or career progression (18%).
Clearly something needs to change on both sides of the divide to put an end to the advertising industry’s overtly sexist mindset. In the meantime, though, we’ve put together this list of commercials that are so sexist you’d think they were made in the heyday of Mad Men, but have a born on date within the last decade. So watch and weep, or just laugh.

Snickers – Builders will be builders

This shocker from Australia actually manages to offend both men and women. The problem is this- women should not feel empowered because men aren’t ‘acting like men’, and the suggestion that men are predisposed to misogyny is as sweeping as they come.


Kazam – Banned in Britain

Smartphone manufacturer Kazam managed to make the slimmest handset in the world, which sounds great, until you hear how the company also succeeded in creating what some have labelled the most sexist ad of the century so far. Hence the ASA pulling it.

Verizon – Banned in the U.S.

Internet provider Verizon fell foul of the law Stateside for its depiction of the hapless dad as ‘tool’, a joke presumably so subtle they actually needed to put the words in the script, just in case there were any stupid men watching.


Breast Cancer UK – Save the Boobs

We know folks at the charity will have meant well with this one, but nevertheless any hope of getting their point across was lost beneath the sheer weight of ridiculousness when TV host Aliya-Jasmine’s chest was placed front and centre. Big mistake.


Liberty Mutual – Not just one idiot, but many

Liberty Mutual opted to wear its heart on its sleeve in terms of how it views men with this advert featuring a successive stream of stupid guys doing stupid things. Still, at least we  now know why they pay more for car insurance.


KFC – Ignorant men, unsatisfied women

Again, this one scores pretty highly on the ‘pissed everyone off’ scale, painting a very negative view of men as ignorant, selfish and un-gentlemanly, which in turn means women will never feel appreciated, because they can’t unless men are nice to them.


Tesco – Men don’t shop

UK supermarket giant Tesco blatantly doesn’t think the average British male buys many groceries if this example is much to go by. After all, if they did their rights when it comes to returns might be more clearly understood.

France 3 – But most of our presenters are women…

Our final example really takes the biscuit, given it was made in a bid to show off the equality credentials of French broadcaster France 3, but was then pulled amid a huge row that broke out whereby critics slammed the ad for its overt sexism.

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