John Lewis has pulled its advert featuring a boy in a dress, heels and makeup after receiving a financial regulator warning.
The home insurance commercial was fiercely criticised by conservative critics, with some seeing it as an example of “male entitlement” and others called it “sexism encapsulated in 60 seconds.”
First airing on television during the week of 11 October, the advert sees a young boy dancing around his home as Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks plays.
It will no longer appear on air as regulators told John Lewis that it could mislead viewers into believing the insurance policy advertised covers such behaviour.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stated that the “Let Life Happen” slogan attached to the commercial could be confusing.
This followed John Lewis saying that its accidental damage cover was only available in addition to its new home contents insurance one – though did not cover deliberate damage.
“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 retail giant 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 “This advert has been withdrawn because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading and could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis’s new home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.”
It continued: “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.”
John Lewis also confirmed that all customers who bought the new insurance have been made aware of its conditions.
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.”