PC Specialist advert banned by ASA for pushing gender stereotypes

Bespoke computer retailer PC Specialist has had its advert banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for perpetuating gender stereotypes.

PC Specialist, which had a turnover of £55 million last year, received eight complaints about an advert featuring three men performing different activities on computers, with a male voice over referring to “techies”, “coders”, “gamers”, “music makers” and “illustrators”.

The complainants argued that the advert suggested only men would be interested in those roles, pushing a harmful gender stereotype.

Although PC Specialist argued that their customer base was nearly 90 per cent males aged between 15 and 35, a demographic it hoped to target with the advert, the ASA upheld the complaint.

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It ruled that the voice-over “implied that those depicted in the ad were innovative, highly skilled and achieving excellence in the roles and careers mentioned”, but that “the ad repeatedly cut to images of only men, who were both prominent and central to the ad’s message of opportunity and excellence across multiple desirable career paths.

“We therefore considered that the ad implied that excellence in those roles and fields would be seen as the preserve of men. Because of that, we considered that the ad went further than just featuring a cross-section of the advertiser’s core customer base and implied that only men could excel in those roles.”

The ASA said that the advert must not appear again in its current form, and warned the retailer to ensure their advertising did not present gender stereotypes in a way that was likely to cause harm.

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