An advert for dating site Match.com has come under fire for suggesting red hair and freckles are “imperfections”.
The Advertising Standards Authority has received around “half a dozen” complaints about the billboard, which appears in tube stations in London.
— Fleur Bone (@FleurBone) April 11, 2016
On Twitter, several people have called out the advert, criticising it for “profiting by bullying.”
— city vegan Ⓥ (@cityvegan) April 10, 2016
Among those criticising the advert was Emma Kelly, who edits a website for redheads called Ginger Parrot.
She told the Guardian: “We had one comment on our site from a woman whose child has red hair and freckles – she said she hoped she doesn’t walk past one of the billboards because it would make her feel bad about how she looks.
— Emily Forbes (@eemilyjf) April 10, 2016
“This is the first time they’ve focused on physical appearance in this campaign and it’s really disappointing that this kind of thing is still acceptable.”
— Charlie Clemmow (@charlieclemmow) April 8, 2016
Another advert, which features a person with two different coloured eyes, has also been criticized.
— Heather DeLand (@HeatherDeLand) April 11, 2016
The ASA confirmed to the Guardian it had received complaints about the advert. A spokesman for the authority said: “We’re currently carefully assessing the complaints to establish if there appear to be any grounds for action.
“It’s important to stress, however, that we haven’t launched an investigation.”
Righteous freckles activism. pic.twitter.com/uStGEQVWHr
— Nick Dastoor (@NickyD) April 11, 2016
The billboard is part of a Match.com campaign which has been running since 2014. So far, it has been met mostly positively – although one billboard, featuring a man who never has his travelcard ready, was good-naturedly ridiculed earlier this year.
Look, Charlotte may be a sweet simpleton but Mark is a MONSTER. pic.twitter.com/p43wJ3XjJb
— Helen O’Hara (@HelenLOHara) January 17, 2016
A Match.com spokesperson said in statement: “Our adverts reveal common perceived imperfections and quirks of Brits – these include freckles which some people who have them may see as an imperfection. We think freckles are beautiful and our posters are designed to encourage everyone who has them to be proud.
“We’re sorry if anyone has been offended by our latest ad – that was not our intention – but we’re really encouraged to see so many people standing-up for what makes them unique.”