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Class clown

Gap comes under fire for sexist back-to-school advertisement

By WITW Staff on August 3, 2016

Gap just released a new back-to-school themed advertising campaign in the U.K. and customers are giving it failing grades for being sexist and promoting gender stereotypes — and also for poor spelling. Not a good example to be setting for the young ‘uns.

The new ad features four cute, preschool-age kids all clad in new Gap items for the fall. The two ads getting all of the negative attention are  “The Little Scholar” and “The Social Butterfly.” A boy is pictured in the “Little Scholar” ad wearing a Gap ensemble that includes an Albert Einstein t-shirt and is accompanied by ad copy that reads, “Your future starts here.” Meanwhile, the little girl shown in “The Social Butterfly” ad is sporting a sweater with a “G” on the front and ad copy that declares “Chambray shirts + logo sweaters are the talk of the playground.” Not surprisingly, the juxtaposition was met with a swift backlash on Twitter after the images were posted by Let Toys Be Toys, an advocacy group that urges toymakers to avoid gendered marketing of their products.

Observers maligned the ad for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and for retreating to “1950s sexism,” among other criticisms. Amid the flurry of criticism, Gap, like any class clown facing disciplinary action, defended its actions. “Gap brand has always stood for individuality, optimism and creativity,” Liz Nunan, a Gap spokesperson, said. “Our intentions have always been to celebrate every child and we did not intend to offend anyone.”

It wasn’t just the sexism in the ad that offended people, though. The ad originally misspelled the name of Albert Einstein — a typo that has since been corrected on the website, but not after being roundly mocked by Twitter users.

Read the full story at Fortune.


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