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.

London Air Travel » British Airways » BA100 » BA100: 40. Not Everything Ages Well

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

This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines. You can read the full series in numerical order here, or by theme here.

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

You can read the full series from our 100 part series on the history of BA in numerical order here, or by theme here.

We welcome any thoughts and comments below: