British Ads Pulled After Angering Career Women, UK Web Site Reports

Filed under: In The News, Weird But True

A billboard has outraged working moms in Britain. Credit: guardian.co.uk

"Career women make bad mothers."

Just kidding. Just kidding.

However, many women didn't find the British Outdoor Advertising Association's little joke very funny. Association officials plastered the five-word slogan across buses and billboards in Britain to show how advertising can catch people's attention.

Oh, it caught their attention, all right. Now it won't let go.

The Guardian newspaper in London reports that association officials have hastily taken down the signs in the face of angry protest.

The signs showed up on some 11,000 billboards and buses in recent days. According to The Guardian, they were supposed to stay up for two weeks. Now they reportedly will be replaced by such eyeball grabbers as "Educashun Isn't Working" and "1966. It Won't Happen This Year" (a reference to England's chances in this summer's World Cup).

Mumsnet, a British parenting Web site, has lit up with comments about the signs.

"Mumsnetters thought the campaign to be ill-conceived, crass and stupid and the reaction on Mumsnet was a mixture of annoyance, contempt and despair in fairly equal measure," Justine Roberts, co-founder and managing director of the site, tells The Guardian.

"The one on the side of a building today felt like a kick in the stomach. So I am being a decent role model -- and crying blood, sweat and tears for my girl is bad. I don't know what else I can do," says one of the 755 (and counting) contributors to Mumsnet.

Another mum adds: "just can't imagine what it must be like to be a woman working in companies that are doing stuff like this."

Members of the Outdoor Advertising Association can take a hint.

The ad campaign was devised by the British advertising agency Campbell Lace Beta. The agency's strategy head, Sharon Johnson, tellsThe Guardian the outcry is unfortunate -- and misses the point.

"There has been a misunderstanding with an important mothers' forum about this campaign which is about sparking a debate," she tells the newspaper. "It is not what the campaign thinks. But rather than offend people the decision has been taken to replace the posters saying ''Working women make bad mothers' with other slogans which work just as effectively."

Related: New York City Moms Balance Work, Kids and Marathon

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