An advertisement that objectifies women to sell a product should be a thing of the past, but a new ad from Audi is a reminder that sexism in advertising is still a problem.

A recent commercial aired by the car manufacturer in China has sparked outrage across the globe, with some threatening to boycott the company.

The ad, which aired in theaters and online, depicted a mother-in-law critiquing the bride’s physical appearance. The ad then cut to a red Audi sedan and a man’s voice saying, “An important decision must be made carefully.”

Social media users were quick to condemn the ad as sexist for comparing women to cars and choosing a wife to shopping for a car.

One person was apparently left speechless, tweeting “I can’t even think of the words to describe my feelings right now.”

Another Twitter user called into question Audi’s advertising choices, noting Audi has previously released ads that seemed to promote gender equality.

During the 2017 Superbowl, Audi aired a commercial that featured a young girl participating in a backyard car race and her proud father. The ad addressed the gender wage gap and seemed like a bold, progressive more on Audi’s part.

An Audi spokesperson told the Washington Post that the company “deeply regrets” the ad and promises a “thorough investigation” will be conducted so similar incidents can be avoided in the future.

In order to avoid ads such as this, the UK based Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is creating stricter rules on what is appropriate to feature in an advertisement. Ads that body shame, present unrealistic body expectations, encourage traditional gender roles, or objectify women will be banned.

“Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people,” said Guy Parker, the chief executive of the ASA. “Tougher advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.”


Demand Equity

Audi Faces Internet Backlash for Ad That Compares Women to Cars

By Madison Feser