Just days after International Women’s Day, a mobile spa service has been slammed on social media for using outdated gender stereotypes in its advert on the London Underground.
USPAAH’s ad, which is targeted at busy commuters (primarily men and women who are working in the city), features a close-up on a man’s face.
Alongside his pleading expression, the poster is emblazoned with a slogan which reads: “Out with the guys ‘til 4am again…?
“Keep her sweet with a spa mani/pedi at home.”
As if that weren’t offensive enough, the advert rounds off with the hashtag: “#saveyourself”.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, commuters were furious over the poster – with many taking to Twitter to target the company directly in their outraged tweets.
“I for one can be subdued with a manicure,” wrote Eleanor Rosenbach. “It’s a welcome break from thinking so much about kittens and pink things.”
She added: “[This is] sexist bulls**t.”
Another added: “Oh. It’s the fictional 1950s where women are placated by strangers coming into their home with nail polish.”
“Hi, it’s 2017,” Meg Hunt informed USPAAH. “Ugh. S**t like this is genuinely offensive. Try and be more creative ffs.”
And Phoebe Luckhurst, summing up all of our feelings on the subject, wrote simply: “Are you kidding me?”
One woman used International Women’s Day as an opportunity to call out the company.
USPAAH – who have been praised in the past for their “female friendly” approach on social media (on IWD, they shared a post paying tribute to Amelia Earhart) – have since responded to the backlash.
However it’s fair to point out that their tone has been somewhat defensive.
USPAAH was, as they have pointed out, founded by a woman, and is now run by an entirely female team.
And, in an official statement to ELLE, they have underlined that fact once again.
“Rest assured, as a company run entirely by women, working with almost a female only team of beauticians and therapists and serving a predominantly female clientele, we very much understand the needs of modern women,” they told the magazine.
“The campaign draws on funny anecdotal experiences of our own lives as strong independent business leaders, wives, partners and girlfriends. We stand by our advert whole heartedly and we're busy planning our next set of campaigns.”
USPAAH added: “Just because it is 2017 does not mean couples don't argue and as far as we are aware it's still ok to receive a gift as part of an apology... as a company, we are incredibly sensitive to what matters, and mean no offence by our tongue-in-cheek adverts.
“For all the negativity we've also received tonnes of positive and supportive messages from many people on how difficult it is to not offend someone in 2017.”