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The reason this PC Specialist ad got banned

A TV ad for UK PC builder PC Specialist has been pulled after complaints were filed with the Advertising Standards Authority. What's up with the ad? Is it that old, hackneyed argument that video games cause violence? Nope. This time, it's about sexism.

The ASA said that the PC Specialist ad, which you can watch here, promoted gender stereotypes. The issue centers around the fact that in representing, as the narration terms them, "the players, the gamers, the 'I'll sleep laters', the creators, the editors, the music makers" as only men, viewers might infer that these PCs are also only for men. In response to this accusation, PC Specialist said that its customers were "87.5% male, aged between 15 and 35 years" so the ad was just addressing the demographic that purchases the company's pretty, RGB-heavy PCs.

Basically, PC Specialist feels that it wasn't being sexist because there is no comparison between men and women in the ad. Women might be just as interested in computers, but they just happen to be excluded from the ad. Ad clearance organization Clearcast did not accept this argument, stating, "the premise that using exclusively male actors in the ad implied that computing was always uniquely associated with one gender, was only available to males or that women could not be interested in technology or computers."

In the end, however, the ASA upheld its ruling, so PC Specialist pulled the ad. The decision came down to the fact that the group felt "the ad went further than just featuring a cross-section of the advertiser's core customer base and implied that only men could excel in those roles." Now PC Specialist fans and bystanders alike have taken to Twitter to give their own opinion on the ruling. Some feel that it is appropriate, while others think that the ruling is bogus.

ASA's decision appears to be part of a crackdown on potentially sexist ads. PC Specialist is just one of many companies to be flagged for allegedly harmful messaging.