Sainsbury's apologises after 'tone-deaf' clothing ad receives huge backlash over women's safety

Sainsbury's issued an apology following backlash over a 'tone-deaf' ad

Sainsbury's apologises over ad - Sainsbury's apologises after 'tone-deaf' clothing ad receives huge backlash over women's safety
(Image credit: Getty)

Sainsbury's has issued an apology and withdrawn a clothing advert from its stores after the UK supermarket giant received a huge backlash online over the problematic poster. 

Consumers were stunned this week to see that the retailer was promoting a £24 midi wrap dress with the slogan: "For walks in the park or strolls after dark." 

In the photo, a woman can be seen wearing a patterned turquoise gown and staring directly at the camera against a backdrop of a park. 

Folks were quick to question the advert online, with many calling it inappropriate on Twitter and Instagram given the current state of women's safety in public places. The backlash comes just a few months after Sainsbury's shoppers were left furious over missing out on savings after their Nectar card points were cut.

"If you're a person who likes walking/strolling at night & feel safe doing so, i'm genuinely happy for you. But please don't have a go at people who don't feel the same," Nathalie Gordon wrote, before adding, "There are a lot of well-documented studies, reports, and research that has been done around the safety of women. If you feel like they do not represent your lived experience, then you are lucky." 

"I saw this shockingly badly thought-out advert through a friend’s Instagram. In light of recent events and protests surrounding women’s safety, this advert is tone deaf, and a very bizarre way of saying that you don’t employ enough women in advertising," one person wrote. "Do better."

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"Bit of a tone deaf advert from #Sainsburys," another person wrote. "Reality is lots of women feel very unsafe after dark. How did it get approved?" 

One unimpressed critic was quick to call out how out-of-touch Sainsbury's advertisers are with women across the country. 

"I read this even worse - for walks or strolls in the park after dark. WALK IN THE PARK AFTER DARK? Said no woman ever," they commented. 

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The backlash has prompted Sainsbury's to issue an apology and to withdraw the campaign. 

"We're sorry that due to the design, some customers found this sign to be inappropriate and are working to remove these from the store," a spokesperson for the retailer said in a statement. "We'll work hard with our agency partner to ensure this doesn't happen again."

Emma Dooney
News and lifestyle writer

Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for Goodto. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.