Match.com ad criticised for suggesting red hair and freckles ‘imperfections’

Freckles

Website accused of ‘profiting by bullying’ over billboards on London Underground that also feature people with different coloured eyes

An advert for dating site Match.com has come under fire for suggesting red hair and freckles are “imperfections”.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received around “half a dozen” complaints about the billboard, which appears in tube stations in London.

On Twitter, several people have called out the advert, criticising it for “profiting by bullying.”

Among those criticising the advert was Emma Kelly, who edits a website for redheads called Ginger Parrot.

She told the Guardian: “We had one comment on our site from a woman whose child has red hair and freckles – she said she hoped she doesn’t walk past one of the billboards because it would make her feel bad about how she looks.

“This is the first time they’ve focused on physical appearance in this campaign and it’s really disappointing that this kind of thing is still acceptable.”

Another advert, which features a person with two different coloured eyes, has also been criticised.

The ASA confirmed to the Guardian it had received complaints about the advert. A spokesman for the authority said: “We’re currently carefully assessing the complaints to establish if there appear to be any grounds for action.

“It’s important to stress, however, that we haven’t launched an investigation.”

The billboard is part of a Match.com campaign which has been running since 2014. So far, it has been met mostly positively – although one billboard, featuring a man who never has his travelcard ready, was good-naturedly ridiculed earlier this year.

Match.com did not return a request for comment, however the company’s Twitter account issued an apology.

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