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Sainsbury's axes controversial clothing ad after backlash from shoppers

Claire Reid

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| Last updated 

Sainsbury's axes controversial clothing ad after backlash from shoppers

Featured Image Credit: @awlilnatty/Twitter Kemaro / Alamy Stock Photo

Sainsbury’s has apologised and pulled an advert following a backlash from customers.

After being spotted by a shopper, it wasn’t long before social media users tore the advert apart online, with some critics claiming it showed a lack of awareness about women’s safety.

The supermarket giant said in a statement that it is working hard to ensure that this doesn't happen again.

Credit: Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo

The ad showed a woman wearing a £24 print wrap dress with the message reading: "For walks in the parks or strolls after dark."

Let’s face it, strolling in the dark, through a park or anywhere else, isn’t usually common practice for most women.

Violence against women has been a big issue over the last few years, especially since the murder of Sarah Everard.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) last year, found that one in two women felt unsafe walking in a quiet street alone after dark.

And - even more worrying - half of all women aged between 16 and 34 said they had experienced harassment in the past year, with 38 percent saying they had endured unwanted sexual comments or catcalls.

Sainsbury’s has said it is now working to remove the advert. Credit: Twitter/@awlilnatty
Sainsbury’s has said it is now working to remove the advert. Credit: Twitter/@awlilnatty

In a post that has since racked up almost 25,000 likes, one Twitter user wrote: “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA THEY THINK WE STROLL IN THE DARK HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.”

Someone else commented: “In the hand you can't see, I bet she has her keys gripped firmly between her fingers, ready for her 'stroll after dark'...”

A third person pointed out: “Even in places where you feel safe walking in the dark, that's the situation where you least need a nice dress, on account of it being dark?”

And another wrote: “Ah yes, all the leisurely strolling in parks in the dark us women are known to enjoy…”

Others believed the advert must have been written by men, as women would have been more aware of the wording and how it would come across.

A study from last year found one in two women didn’t feel safe walking in a quiet area at night while alone. Credit: Jack Carey / Alamy Stock Photo
A study from last year found one in two women didn’t feel safe walking in a quiet area at night while alone. Credit: Jack Carey / Alamy Stock Photo

One Twitter user wrote: “A man wrote that, for sure."

While someone else said: “Tell me you have no female creatives working in your agency without telling me you have no female creatives working in your agency.”

Another added: “Yeah... I guess they didn't have many women working on that campaign…”

In response to the backlash, Sainsbury’s has apologised and said it is now removing the advert from stores.

A spokesperson said: "We're sorry that due to the design, some customers found this sign to be inappropriate and are working to remove these from the store."

They continued: "We'll work hard with our agency partner to ensure this doesn't happen again."

Topics: Shopping

Claire Reid
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