Jumping Pact

Half Mag / Half Zine

A man has complained to Boots after it appeared to advertise sex toy gifts for Mother’s Day on Facebook.

Andrew Whiting was shocked to see the naughty toys sponsored ad pop up showing the adult toys as gift recommendations on his social media feed.

The retired prison officer, whose own mother has been dead for nearly 20 years – says the gift suggestion was ‘extremely inappropriate.’

Boots has been forced to apologise after its sponsored advert urging Facebook users to buy the toys prompted Mr Whiting to complain- although he said he could also see the funny side.

He said he was scrolling through his news feed on Wednesday when he had to ‘do a double-take’ at the Boots ad, which featured four colourful vibrators of various shapes and sizes below the slogan ‘for every kind of mum’.

The 53-year-old claims that while he found the campaign ‘extremely inappropriate’, he couldn’t help but laugh at the racy marketing fail.

Andrew’s sister branded the advert ‘disgusting’, while he speculated that young children may now take the advert to their fathers and suggest buying the toys for their mother.

Boots apologised for any ‘offence caused’ and explained that a ‘technical error’ meant two separate adverts were combined into one, while Facebook admitted they had made a ‘mistake’ by not spotting the ad.

Andrew, from Fife, Scotland, said: “Maybe some mothers are in for a shock on Mother’s Day.

“I spotted it on my Facebook [news feed]. I just did a double take.

“I couldn’t believe what I saw at the bottom of the advertisement.

“When I first saw it, I laughed. It seemed quite funny.

“But then I saw the little girl who was in the picture and I thought ‘that’s a little inappropriate’, especially when this advertisement is going out to [users] on Facebook in the UK.

“I’m pretty broadminded and I do like a laugh. I think it’s really funny actually, but inappropriate if it comes up on someone’s timeline who could be upset by it.

“To be honest, I didn’t even think Boots sold anything like that. Maybe they’ve had to branch out with the lockdown.”

The adverts full caption read ‘looking for the perfect gift for your miles-away Mum? Or your near-but-far Mum? Wherever she is, we’ve got something she’ll love’.

Underneath it, an image appeared to show a toddler holding hands with her parent and looking longingly through a glass door at her grandmother – with a line-up of ‘really weird’ looking sex toys underneath.

After highlighting the marketing ‘anomaly’ on social media, Andrew’s own sister posted that the mistake was ‘disgusting’.

The retired prison officer was worried curious teens might be driven to ask their parents what the colourful products were.

Andrew said: “I had to do a double-take. First of all, I saw the pictures and thought ‘what are these’ then on closer inspection you find out what they actually are.

“When I saw the photo of the young girl on the picture, I thought [it was] slightly inappropriate.

“My sister made a comment to say it was disgusting.

“There could be young kids who are now going to their mums saying ‘mummy, what’s this?’

“I can imagine a young child going to their dad saying ‘can we get one of these for mum’ and not knowing what it is.

“I know they come in all shapes and sizes, but I just looked at the photo [again] now and they look really weird.

“Maybe flowers would be sufficient. It’s extremely inappropriate.

“I take it this won’t happen again. It’s just one of these anomalies that can happen.”

A Boots spokesperson said: “We are really sorry for any offence caused by this advert.

“This mistakenly appeared after a technical error combined two separate adverts into one. It was a targeted advert that was only seen by a small number of customers and it was removed as soon as we realised the error.

“We have put measures in place to ensure mistakes like this do not happen again, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

A Facebook spokesperson said: “We do not allow adverts that promote the sale or use of adult products. We review millions of ads and posts each week, and unfortunately we occasionally make mistakes as has happened here.”