The radio advertisement featuring a male voiceover (MVO) opens to the sound of a keyboard clicking in the background. The MVO refers to the following:
“This is Harry, Barry and Garry - the hottest App Developers in town. Working from their bedrooms they keep their customers happy whilst keeping their costs down.
With eReceptionist the guys have a real 01 Dublin landline number which then forwards to their mobiles. They each have their own extension linked to their personal schedule so when Harry is on the date with Carrie (sound of cork popping) his calls forward to Garry and Barry.
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The complainant said that there was currently a huge gender and diversity gap in Science Technology, Engineering, Maths and Media (STEM) which many organisations were trying to address. She said that one particular area of concern was Mobile App Development. She considered that the radio advertisement depicting Gary, Barry and Harry (three fictional App Developers) did little to address the gender balance in this industry. She said the only reference to the female gender during the course of the advertisement was Harry being on a date with ‘Carrie’. The complainant concluded that the advertisement was not inclusive and badly needed some gender balance to make women feel included in the industry.
The advertisers said in the development of their advertising they had never set out to represent a real company, which may or may not have been gender balanced. The purpose of their advertising had been to present a company where three people worked together from remote locations by using the same 01 landline number which happened to be a feature of their product.
The advertisers said that the three colleagues had been named in a humorous fashion to ensure that their names rhymed. They said it had never been their intention to portray bias towards any particular gender, it just happened to be the case that all three names were male.
In conclusion the advertisers said they noted the relevant provisions of the Code and supported gender equality. Their intentions in relation to their advertising had been to illustrate the capabilities of their product in a humorous way and they reiterated that their advertising had not been based on a real company.
Complaint Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. The Committee accepted that the advertisers intended their advertising to be humorous and that it had not been their intention to promote gender imbalance by focussing entirely on male names. The Committee did not consider that in general the representation of only one gender was of itself offensive or stereotyping. They did not consider that this advertisement had breached the Code.
No further action was required.