We’re not material girls, says woman outraged by ‘bling’ ad

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We’re not material girls, says woman outraged by ‘bling’ ad

The complainant says the ad is ‘belittling’ in its suggestion that women save money to buy frivolous things

Nabeelah Osman
First for Women has been accused of demeaning them by portraying them in a TV ad as frivolous and greedy.
TICKED OFF First for Women has been accused of demeaning them by portraying them in a TV ad as frivolous and greedy.
Image: 123rf/Alexey Romanenko

A company whose customers are all women has been accused of demeaning them by portraying them in a TV ad as frivolous and greedy.

But the advertising watchdog dismissed the complaint against insurer First for Women, saying the ad was simply aimed at its market.

Jess Henson said the ad was “offensive and belittling” in its suggestion that women save money to buy “things” like “jewellery and cushions”.

Women are not frivolous, greedy, materialistic and mindless – they are considerate, careful, strategic and thoughtful.
Jess Henson

In a voiceover, a woman’s voice said: “If you like things, things that vroom, things that boom, things that make room … things that ring, things that bling. You like things, go get things. We’ve got you covered.”

Henson told the Advertising Regulatory Board: “Women are not frivolous, greedy, materialistic and mindless – they are considerate, careful, strategic and thoughtful.”

She said the advert aimed to profit through the “manipulation” of a “disempowered” audience that did not know it was being insulted.

The watchdog said the settings and scenarios in the ad were chosen as they “relate directly to [First for Women’s] insurance offering”.

The images used related to “each type of cover” available for such items, and the items shown were realistic things women own.

“The aim of the commercial is to educate women on risks involved with owning such items,” said the finding.

The commercial also did not suggest women should use the savings on their insurance premiums to buy the items depicted in the advert.

With regards to gender and offence, the commercial did not portray woman negatively in a way that contravened the relevant clause in the advertising code, it said.

“A discomfort or view that the commercial is in bad taste can never on its own be a case for a finding in terms of this clause,” it said.

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