Men are riskier than women when it comes to car insurance.
This is the finding of the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled last week after two men cried sexism over a television advertisement for insurer 1st for Women.
The commercial, on e.tv and the SABC, was criticised for depicting male drivers as "reckless and negligent". 1st for Women only insures women drivers.
The animated advert tells of a female and male driver. The male driver hops into his car through the window, and the female uses the door. The voice-over says: "She treats her car like ... a car. He, on the other hand, doesn't." It continues, showing the male spinning tyres with his car and crashing into a wall, as the female drives off safely. It ends with: "Men are a higher risk than women."
The complainants, Thono Ranthloa and Nhlanhla Moloi, said the advert was not only "offensive and sexist" but also "perpetuates misconceptions" about men as "bad or irresponsible drivers".
But 1st for Women defended its "men are a higher risk than women" claim by relying on riskbehaviour assessments it had conducted that show, due to gender and behaviour patterns, women are a lower risk than men.
Ouch! (Image: La Cara Salma, via Wikimedia Commons)
Yesterday, Robyn Farrell, executive head of 1st for Women, said: "The patterns that are looked at are the number of accidents which women are involved in and the cost to repair the damaged vehicles. These indicate that women are a better insurance risk."
In response to complaints, the insurer said the ad had "entertainment value" and merely showed differences in behaviour between men and women in an "exaggerated and humorous manner". Farrell said: "Our intention was to highlight in a lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek manner that men are higher risk than women and sometimes do silly things, things women would not normally do."
The entertaining side to the ad counted in its favour when the authority made its ruling, in which it dismissed the complaints.
"While the presence of humour is by no means an automatic defence, it is helpful in determining how a hypothetical person may interpret advertising, as well as what the advertiser's intention was," it held. A "hypothetical reasonable person" viewing the advert would not interpret it as a realistic depiction of the way men and women drive.
Source: Business Day, via I-Net Bridge