The ad shows a scene of a woman and a man in a tent on a cliff face, two male astronauts floating in a spaceship and a male para-athlete with a prosthetic leg doing the long jump.
At the end of the clip, a woman is seen sat on a bench next to a pram.
The commercial was banned by the UK Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) after multiple people complained, with the ASA asserting that it violated gender stereotyping rules.
“By juxtaposing images of men in extraordinary environments and carrying out adventurous activities with women who appeared passive or engaged in a stereotypical care-giving role, we considered that the ad directly contrasted stereotypical male and female roles and characteristics in a manner that gave the impression that they were exclusively associated with one gender,” said the ASA. “We concluded that the ad presented gender stereotypes in way that was likely to cause harm and therefore breached the Code.”
Volkswagen tried to explain the meaning behind the ad, but it was to no avail.
“The core message of the ad was centred on the ability of the human spirit to adapt to challenges and change brought about by circumstances. They illustrated that through a number of different scenarios featuring various characters so that as diverse an audience as possible would be able to identify with the message.”
“They included the final scene of the woman in the park as a relatable example of adaptation to change, as they believed that welcoming a newborn into the family was a life changing experience that would be shared by many viewers, regardless of gender. The scene served a secondary purpose of illustrating the reduction of engine noise in an electric vehicle.”