UK estate agency pulls ad over sexist message

Tube station marketing campaign provokes stream of complaints to standards authority

UK-based estate agency Marsh & Parsons landed itself in  hot water this week when it was forced to pull its latest marketing campaign after it came under fire for carrying a sexist message.

A display ad at Tube stations depicted a young blonde woman draped on the shoulder of a significantly older grey-haired man, with a caption below reading: “A charming period property with a modern extension.”

Following enraged online reaction over the description of a younger woman as a "modern extension" of a man, and a stream of complaints to the British Advertising Standards Authority, The London Evening Standard reported that Marsh & Parsons would be removing the London Underground advert.

Twitter responses included: “How did @MarshandParsons estate agents miss 2nd half of 20th c & 21st c? What sexist stereotypes. #everydaysexism”

Tracy Kuhn added: "Oh wow. Some people with actual degrees & proper suits sat round a table & all agreed on that. We're doomed."

David Brown, chief executive of Marsh & Parsons, said: "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. 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."