John Lewis has responded to the backlash from its 'woke' new advert, which features a young boy wearing a dress and heels.
The advert, titled 'Let Life Happen', begins by panning across the floor a messy bedroom, where clothes and make up have been strewn chaotically.
We then see the culprit pop up into the frame: a young boy wearing glasses, a dress, jewellery and lipstick, who throws feathers into the air before dancing through the house - the camera following as he leaves a trail of destruction.
His sister, meanwhile, is calmly painting at the table - that is until he throws her paints onto the floor, splashing them onto the carpet.
The ad has garnered a lot of criticism online, where some people claimed the 'woke' video is a form of 'virtue signalling'.
One person tweeted: "How to stop people shopping in John Lewis ever again. Make a stupid woke advert, everything wrong with Great Britain. This stupid advert, John Lewis guaranteed to lose thousands shoppers that shop there, now watching this advert."
Someone else agreed: "We have a problem when TV Ads are about 'socially engineering' you and your child. John Lewis is playing the woke card for its middle class target audience. Nothing wrong with kids dressing up - but this is virtue signalling. #GoWokeGoBroke."
Others argued the advert was 'sexist' due to how the boy and his sister were portrayed, with one Twitter user writing: "The John Lewis advert of a young boy being the centre of attention for trashing everything while his sister obediently sits and paints in a corner is sexism encapsulated in 60 seconds."
Another added: "It's very telling about that John Lewis advert that even when presenting gender ideology in as adorable a way as possible, it's still revealed to be narcissistic, destructive, aggressive, misogynistic and thinks women and girls exist to sit quietly and take whatever crap it pulls."
Some said the ad was too 'sexualised', while one other person pointed out that the sequence appeared to be a twist on a similar John Lewis advert from 2015, which featured a young girl.
everyone mad about the john lewis advert, saying how it features a 'wreckless, spoilt, sexualised' boy damaging the house, not realising its a copy of their 2015 advert featuring a girl doing the same
..so your real issue is he's having fun in a dress, isn't it? pic.twitter.com/RhHJx8N2cR
- ben (@itsbenhood) October 13, 2021
Some people simply didn't love the idea that it seemed to condone children trashing houses - although others defended the retailer by saying it was simply a tongue-in-cheek take on the 'reality' of family life.
One said: "Dreadful advert. He is very deliberately causing damage which you most certainly wouldn't cover. Trying to justify it is just making things worse. How many levels of scrutiny did this go through pre screening? Epic fail."
On the other side of the argument, someone else tweeted: "That wasn't the only problem here. Funny that you missed it. And no, parents should not allow children to be 'whatever they want to be'. Parents are there to guide their children. Some things aren't okay, and that's just reality."
John Lewis has since responded to the comments, saying it created the 'playful' advert as it believes in 'children having fun'.
Many of you have contacted us regarding the thinking behind our latest Home Insurance advert. Please find our response below: pic.twitter.com/lbTqFTSry2
- John Lewis & Partners (@JohnLewisRetail) October 14, 2021
It said in a statement posted to Twitter: "At John Lewis, we believe in children having fun and that's why we chose this playful storyline for our latest advert.
"It's designed to show the young actor getting carried away with his dramatic performance. He is not wilfully damaging his home and is unaware of the unintentional consequences of his actions.
"If customers have Accidental Damage Cover with our Home Insurance, this would cover a range of major and minor home disasters - including unintentional breakages caused by children in the family."
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