John Lewis pulls controversial ‘boy in dress’ advert for being ‘potentially misleading’

John Lewis pulls controversial ‘boy in dress’ advert for being ‘potentially misleading’

John Lewis has pulled a controversial home insurance advert after a regulator ruled that it was “potentially misleading”.

The advert, entitled Let Life Happen, featured a young boy running around his gaff, dancing to Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen (banger) and making a mess with paint and upturned furniture in a scene that would even cause Kim and Aggie to quake in their boots.

Now, after eye-rolling levels of debate and hand-wringing over the advert, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said it could lead consumers to believe the insurance policy covers for children deliberately trashing their homes, causing John Lewis to retreat.

“You may have seen our ‘Let Life Happen’ advert for our new home contents insurance offering, which ran between 11 and 27 October 2021,” the retailer said. “This advert has been withdrawn because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading and could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis’s new home contents insurance offering. This was absolutely never our intention.”

Its reason for becoming the latest, ahem, victim of cancel culture, is interesting given the controversy it provoked. Some viewers clutched their pearls at the sight of a boy in a dress, while others dubbed it sexist, given the boy was behaving badly while his sister sat chilling. Others thought it glorified vandalism, and some even claimed the actor was being sexualised.

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The store received 400 complaints, the mother of the actor was forced to speak out and the shop even issued a sombre response, saying they “believe in children having fun” and therefore “chose this playful storyline” in which the boy is “carried away with his dramatic performance.”

“He is not willfully damaging his home and is unaware of the unintentional consequences of his actions,” they clarified.

But as people cleared away the Le Creuset’s and duck down duvets to build a trench for Theresa May (but NOT Boris Johnson’s) favourite department store to become the latest battleground for the culture wars; it was not any of the above that signed the advert’s death warrant but a very literal-minded interpretation.

John Lewis added: “The ‘Let Life Happen’ John Lewis home insurance advert was created to show a joyful depiction of a young actor getting carried away with his performance, oblivious of the unintentional consequences of his actions.”

It added: “We have decided to contact every customer who purchased our new home contents insurance cover from 11 October to 31 October to confirm they understood these points and are happy with their purchase.”

An FCA spokesperson said: “Financial services firms’ marketing must be clear, fair and not misleading.”

There you have it, white collar insurance fraudsters. John Lewis will NOT pay out if you tip over your AGA.

Anyone looking forward to the Christmas advert?

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