THE BLOG

Match.com's Latest Anti-Ginger Recruitment Ad Has Me Seeing Red

12/04/2016 13:46 | Updated 13 April 2016

I, like two percent of the world's population, am a redhead.

I also have freckles.

But despite 140million people on the planet having one or the other - or both - to some people it's still completely acceptable to see this as something lesser. A weakness. Ugly, even.

Or, according to the latest Match.com ads, an "imperfection".

Despite it being 2016, the dating site has scored a spectacular own goal in using an image of a (stunning) redheaded woman with freckles in their latest ad campaign.
So far, so inclusive.

However, the strapline on the eye-catching ads is even more of an eye-opener.

"If you don't like your imperfections, someone else will."

Wow.

match

Despite being called every ginger insult under the sun throughout my entire childhood and teenage years (and very occasionally as an adult), I have come to love being a ginge (what's left of it) - and my freckles.

Sticks and stones, and all that.

In fact, as an adult, rather than working against me, it's worked very much in my favour, ironically, on the dating front in particular.

It seems some people are BIG lovers of gingers - or to put it another way - my uniqueness. Which would have been a much better word to use in that lazy strapline.

It seems prejudice still exists in some quarters, against anyone who has to put Factor 50 on when the sun decides to make an appearance - and this is something those lame ads are reinforcing.

Despite this, a Match.com spokesperson has attempted to defend the ads on the basis that they reveal "common perceived imperfections".

By who exactly? Their copywriter, perhaps, but not any of my family, friends, exes, or anyone who visited Thomas Knights' hugely successful Red Hot exhibition. Or, to be blunt, anyone with more than two braincells to rub together.

Following a backlash against the ads, Match.com released a statement, saying: "Our adverts reveal common perceived imperfections and quirks of Brits - these include freckles, which some people who have them may see as an imperfection. We think freckles are beautiful and our posters are designed to encourage everyone who has them to be proud. We're sorry if anyone has been offended by our latest ad - that was not our intention - but we're really encouraged to see so many people standing up for what makes them unique."

But nobody would have to stand up against the ads if they weren't so bloody offensive in the first place. Oh the irony.

These days I just roll my eyes and smile if I get called "ginger", "copper knob" or "Duracell" (by adults, I hasten to add). It's like water off a duck's back, and I know I'm having the last laugh.

However, that's not the case for everyone, and it's simply unacceptable for anyone to be bullied about their appearance, and these ads do nothing but promote the idea that being a redhead is not something to be proud of - despite what that backtracking statement says.

I just hope that everyone who either has - or loves - red hair boycotts this particular campaign, proving this kind of discrimination to be a very imperfect exercise in advertising.

UPDATE:
Following the backlash against their latest ad campaign, Match.com are in discussions to remove the ads and have provided HuffPost UK with the following statement:

"We have taken note of the response about our advert concerning freckles. Following this feedback, we are in discussions with our relevant partners about removing these posters as soon as possible.

We believe freckles are beautiful. The intention of our 'Love Your Imperfections' campaign is to focus on the quirks and idiosyncrasies that people wrongly perceive to be imperfections - this can include freckles, a feature that is sometimes seen as an imperfection by people who have them. We're sorry if this ad has been interpreted in a different way and we apologise for any offence caused, this was not our intention.

Our overall campaign is all about celebrating perceived imperfections, from having freckles to being chubby, messy or clumsy, which we believe to be charming. The adverts are designed to encourage everyone to be proud of their individuality, as the features that make us unique are often the ones that make us most attractive."

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