Morrisons has been cleared of sexist depictions of women in its Christmas TV advertising. The ASA has ruled today that two ads showing a woman overwhelmed by Christmas preparations were unlikely to cause widespread offence.

The ads received 26 complaints claiming they reinforced outdated stereotypes of men and women in the home. Morrisons argued that the family in the ads was based on its own market research that indicated mothers still bore the brunt of Christmas preparations.

The supermarket said it intended the tone of the ads, which included a mock wrestling match between the mother and a Christmas turkey, to be light-hearted, and to provoke comment.

The ASA accepted that some people would find the portrayal of the mother as solely responsible for Christmas housework distasteful. But it concluded the ads did not condone discriminatory behaviour, or imply the woman’s role was the same in every household. 

The ASA cleared Asda of the same charge in a ruling last month about Christmas ads showing a mother doing most of the work. Asda’s ad attracted 620 complaints, but was also considered not likely to cause widespread offence or distress.  

“This decision shows we were in touch with how women felt at Christmas and were not being sexist. We’re pleased with the outcome.” said a Morrisons spokesman.