Who really knows what the marketing team for London real estate agents Marsh & Parsons were thinking when they created an incredibly sexist ad and plastered it around the city?
In the ad — which was posted inside commuter trains — an elderly, well-dressed man is pictured standing with a much younger blonde woman leaning lovingly against him. The words underneath the image read, “A charming period property with a modern extension.”
As it appears, the man in the photo is being compared to a “charming period property” while his young love interest is being paralleled to a “modern extension” of him.
Needless to say, many who saw the ad were very displeased by its sexist, demeaning message and expressed their dismay on social media.
@samatlounge 160 years? Have they changed their advertising strategy or agency since they formed?? Bad taste guys and very poorly judged.— Tony Edgcumbe (@TonyEdgcumbe) March 27, 2017
@TonyEdgcumbe so entirely tone deaf it beggars belief— Sam Missingham (@samatlounge) March 27, 2017
According to Mashable, Marsh & Parsons’ CEO David Brown said the ad was supposed to be a part of a series titled “tongue-in-cheek,” which aims to compare people to property to reflect “the range of people” and properties the company works with.
"We have always tried to get our message across with a gentle sense of humour (sic) and up until now, our work has been extremely well-received," Brown said in a statement.
"The campaign, created by a team of men and women, is designed to be thought-provoking and to prompt conversation, but it was not our intention to cause offence (sic)," Brown added.
Although he defended the company’s intended message (which is still rather problematic), he noted that due to the offense it caused others, the ad would be removed.
For the record, it was never a good idea to compare property to people in an ad campaign. The notion of people being viewed as property in any context still has implications of slavery, which was a historical peril not exclusive to the United States.
Additionally, this particular photo reflects the patriarchal, misogynistic view of a woman belonging to a man.
Nevertheless, it is notable that Marsh & Parsons took heed to people’s concerns and decided to pull the ad — unlike the German retailer, Spreadshirt, which recently refused to remove shirts with racist remarks printed on them from its site.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Kim Kyung-Hoon