British retailer John Lewis has pulled a controversial advert for house insurance which was slammed after viewers took issue with the brattish behaviour of a boy dressed in drag causing havoc in the house.
The ad, titled “Let Life Happen” had more than twice as many dislikes as likes on YouTube, with most comments also criticising the message.
Now the ad has been scrapped after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that it could mislead consumers who might have thought that the insurance covered deliberate damage.
The video showed a boy dressed in woman’s clothes with make-up breaking and damaging items in a family home. Many viewers took exception to the behaviour portrayed, especially towards his woman and young girl in the ad.
“Are JL saying their home insurance covers wilful damage by a family member? According to their own t&c’s this kind of damage is excluded,” said one commentator.
“Terrible behaviour. Cute kid but why are you encouraging such spoilt, entitled, destructive behaviour?” said another.
“Surely your home insurance doesn’t cover you for wilful damage, which this looks to be? Spoilt boy goes round the house trashing it and nobody stops him. Tell that to the insurance company and see if they wear it. That’s before we even get to the bullying of the sister & the message that sends out, “one viewer complained.
Several commentators also took issue with what they called a “creepy obsession with putting kids in drag”.
“What is the creepy obsession with putting kids in Drag? It’s disturbing. Drag is for adults, especially when it has sexual undertones as it usually does. Bad decision John Lewis. Plus the kid is a brat. But that’s ok because he’s wearing his mum’s dress and make-up while he’s trashing the house?,” said one post on You Tube.
John Lewis later said it’s policy only covered accidental, not deliberate, damage.
“You may have seen our ‘Let Life Happen’ advert for our new home contents insurance offering, which ran between 11 and 27 October 2021,” the retailer said. “This advert has been withdrawn because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading and could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis’s new home contents insurance offering. This was absolutely never our intention.
It added: “We have decided to contact every customer who purchased our new home contents insurance cover from 11 October to 31 October to confirm they understood these points and are happy with their purchase.”
An FCA spokesperson said: “Financial services firms’ marketing must be clear, fair and not misleading.”