Advertisers for Greece’s biggest toy retailer Jumbo have pulled an Easter TV advertisement – also shown in Cyprus – after criticism by human rights activists and social media comments that it was discriminatory against women.
The commercial, which became a viral media sensation soon after it was released this month, featured a popular female Greek singer carrying a red-painted egg and calling on a young man to crack it.
“Hit, hit like a man,” says 61-year-old singer Angela Dimitriou.
Egg tapping is a traditional Greek Easter game in which a player attempts to crack an opponent’s hard-boiled egg without damaging his or her own.
Orthodox Easter falls on May 1 this year, a month after the Catholic/Protestant festival.
Jumbo declined to comment but its advertising agency denied the allegations saying the advertisement was humorous.
Greece’s general secretariat for gender equality issued a statement on April 8 saying the commercial reinforced ‘sexist stereotypes’ and legitimised violence against women.
“‘Hit like a man’ is not funny – it is dangerous,” it said.
It later complained to the communication regulator, which said the disputed phrase was ambiguous and ruled this week that it should be changed as it could have a sexist nuance, although it deemed that it was “in no case inciting acts of violence”.
“The committee unanimously decided that the phrase ‘hit, hit like a man’ is violating articles … of the Greek advertising code of conduct and must be amended,” the regulator said.
In a statement published on their website on Friday, Jumbo’s advertising agency said the controversial wording was intended to be humorous and along with Jumbo, they agreed not to cut the commercial but withdraw it instead.
“Humour is a mirror of truth, and it sometimes shocks you when you look at your reflection. But there is no reason to blame the mirror for that,” advertising agency Pollen said.
The commercial was planned to run until Sunday.