BA100: 40. Not Everything Ages Well

100 Years Of British Airways: Not everything ages well, a controversial advert for the Club World cradle seat in 1996.

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British Airways Club World Advertisement 1996
British Airways Club World Advertisement 1996

Welcome to our 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines.

The UK advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority has recently banned two adverts for Philadelphia cheese and Volkswagen because they breached new advertising rules on gender stereotypes.

Under new rules introduced this year “Advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.”

What would the Advertising Standards Authority of today made of this BA advert from 1996?

The advert depicts a mother holding a baby, but with the face of an older businessman superimposed over the baby’s face. The text of the advert reads “The new Club World cradle seat. Lullaby not included.”

Many female passengers at the time wrote to the airline to complain it was demeaning to cabin crew.

BA has been far from alone in this regard. There are things Virgin has done in the past that look absolutely cringeworthy today. It can be said with confidence that if this advert was run today the airline would be in teeth of a social media storm.

British Airways Club World Cradle Seat Advert 1996
British Airways Club World Cradle Seat Advert 1996

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