John Lewis and the Sexualisation of Children

John Lewis and the Sexualisation of Children

October 2021 saw retailer John Lewis under criticism for a television advert that contained images of the sexualisation of a child, and also a boy wearing makeup:

John Lewis hits back at criticism over new home insurance advert, Country Ask, 15th of October 2021.

Of course, they did their best to defend the advert of a young boy wearing a dress, heels, jewellery and make up.

A few years ago, there was almost an unspoken rule to remove young, innocent and vulnerable children from being used a marketing vehicle, particularly when it involves them being sexualised.

The advert could be viewed as a bit of fun, but it can also viewed as John Lewis exploiting a young child for financial gain.

They are prevented from showing adverts involving tobacco, tobacco billboard ads near schools, alcoholic drink adverts that suggest alcohol being used with underlying sexual connotations, and so on. But, sexualising a young child is in someway considered acceptable. But what else can you expect from countries such as the UK and Scotland that allow a child as young as young as 4 to decide its own "gender".

Decide for yourself ... Creepy, exploitation of the young and innocent by a large organisation, or just a bit of harmless fun?

You Have to Laugh

On the 27th of October 2021, John Lewis were instructed to remove the above advertisement from television. Not because it contained questionable content with regards to a minor but because it broke broadcasting standards and could be considered misleading:

John Lewis pulls insurance ad of boy destroying house over 'policy cover' concerns, Express, 27th of October 2021.

It's easy to forget what the ad was supposed to be about. Was it about a boy cross-dressing or was it about insurance? Well, if it was about insurance it broke the rules. The boy [are we allowed to use that term of reference anymore?] is seen marching around a home smearing paint on the walls, kicking shoes at lamps, throwing an umbrella at a vase, spilling a glass and throwing glitter into the air. However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that the ad’s content could be potentially misleading because it suggests that the insurance might cover deliberate damage.

How embarrassing. An insurance provider and they don't even understand the basics of their own policies and as a result produce a potentially ambiguous promotion for their core product. They should stick to high street retail, while it's still around.