Hippo ad pokes fun at man ‘getting lost’ and doesn't marginalise any gender‚ ASA finds

26 July 2018 - 06:00 By Nico Gous
The ASA dismissed Jabulile Mavuso’s complaint about the commercial for Hippo.co.za’s comparative insurance quotes that it perpetuates gender stereotypes that women are unable to drive.
The ASA dismissed Jabulile Mavuso’s complaint about the commercial for Hippo.co.za’s comparative insurance quotes that it perpetuates gender stereotypes that women are unable to drive.
Image: Screen Grap/Hippo advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that a television commercial that is “clearly exaggerated to a point of becoming ridiculous” does not reinforce the stereotype that women cannot drive or navigate.

The ASA dismissed Jabulile Mavuso’s complaint about the commercial for Hippo.co.za’s comparative insurance quotes that it perpetuates gender stereotypes that women are unable to drive.

In the commercial a man reverses a car and stops. The woman in the car then says: “My ex never got lost. He always knew how to find the right spot….” At the end of the commercial she adds: “…and his car had a bigger engine too”.

Mavuso argued that the commercial perpetuates sexist stereotypes about the roles and skills of men and women. He believes this commercial reinforces the stereotype that women are dependent on men to drive and navigate.

Hippo hit back and said the current and ex-boyfriend are compared in the commercial and not men against women. They said the commercial aimed to be funny and light-hearted while demonstrating why you should use Hippo.co.za to compare insurance quotes.

The ASA said they could only uphold this complaint if the commercial stereotyped a gender in a demeaning way that would be considered beyond “reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society”.

The ASA agreed Hippo was comparing the two boyfriends and did not “in any way” imply the woman could not drive or navigate‚ but instead left it up to her boyfriend and he failed.

“The hypothetical reasonable person viewing the commercial would not interpret it as a realistic‚ factual depiction of male and female roles. While true that it plays into a stereotype that men are expected to have‚ and are measured on‚ their navigation skills‚ it in no way reflects on that in comparison to the woman as alleged by the complainant (Mavuso).”

The ASA agreed that the commercial was funny and light-hearted.

“It uses a humorous situation to talk about acceptable comparisons‚ and it plays on a subtle sexual innuendo in doing so (‘find the right spot’‚ ‘bigger engine’). The hypothetical reasonable person would interpret the commercial in this context.”

The ASA concluded: “The commercial is clearly exaggerated to a point of becoming ridiculous. It pokes fun at a man ‘getting lost’ and it does not marginalise any gender.”

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