London estate agent Marsh & Parsons has been forced to pull an advert that featured a young woman and an elderly man with the caption: "A charming period property with a modern extension."
Many people have criticised the advert for being sexist. "A woman isn't property or a 'modern extension'," one Twitter user said.
The Advertising Standards Authority told BuzzFeed News that it had received seven complaints to date about this advert, which are currently being assessed. "All of the complainants feel the ad is offensive and sexist," the ASA said.
People were disappointed the estate agent had won accolades such as Best Marketing in 2015.
One said the advert was sending out a mixed message.
David Brown, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, told BuzzFeed News: "The campaign, created by a team of men and women, is designed to be thought-provoking and to prompt conversation, but it was not our intention to cause offence. It would appear that this particular advert – taken apart from the rest of the campaign – has done so and we will be taking steps to remove it as a result.
"We have featured a mixture of men and women across various cultures and ages and have never sought to alienate or insult anybody."
He added: "Marsh & Parsons has a recent history of tongue-in-cheek advertisements that compare people to property and reflect that the range of people we work with are as diverse as the types of properties we sell and let."
"We have always tried to get our message across with a gentle sense of humour and up until now, our work has been extremely well-received," Brown said.
A TfL spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “While this doesn’t breach our advertising policy, we note it is being withdrawn by the advertiser in response to concerns that have been raised. We continue to work closely with our advertising partners to ensure they remain compliant with our policy and adaptable if complaints are made.”
Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Victoria Sanusi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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