John Lewis has pulled a divisive home insurance advert that featured a young boy dancing around his family home in a dress.
In the advert, named Let Life Happen, nine-year-old Reggie Parker could be seen causing absolute mayhem to the tune of Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen, face smeared with bright red lipstick.
Causing a storm of destruction as he twirled and spun through the house, Reggie was shown chucking his sister’s paints on the floor and kicking his leopard print heels at some pricey looking light fittings.
The film caused an absolute uproar after it first aired during the ad breaks of The Great British Bake Off.
To the surprise of absolutely no-one who uses social media, a number of tiresome virtual fists were shaken about the high end department store supposedly ‘virtue signalling’ or ‘agenda-pushing’ on account of the boy’s dress.
Others took issue with the way the boy was allowed to wreak complete chaos while his sister sat quietly at the table, feeling this sent out a sexist message.
Now, the controversial advert has been taken off the air altogether, though it’s not for any of the reasons you might expect.
In a statement shared to Twitter, John Lewis revealed the insurance advert, which ran from October 11 to October 27, has been withdrawn ‘because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading’.
The FCA reportedly believes the ad ‘could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis’s new home contents insurance offering’, something the retail chain claims ‘was absolutely never our intention’.
The statement continues:
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.
We would like to clarify that accidental damage cover is available as an add-on to John Lewis’s new home contents insurance product and only covers accidental (not deliberate) damage.
John Lewis went on to announce their decision to get in contact with ‘every customer who purchased our new home contents insurance cover from 11 October to 31 October’, in order ‘to confirm they understood these points and are happy with their purchase’.
In a tweeted statement shared the wake of the initial backlash, John Lewis defended the ad, stating:
Although many children do dress up and dance around their homes the advert is a dramatic, fictional story created to entertain. We hope our customers will appreciate this ad in the spirit it was intended.
The company emphasised their accidental damage home insurance add-ons do cover ‘unintentional breakages caused by children’.
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John Lewis & Partners/Twitter