Ikea apologises and pulls ad in China about single women

BEIJING (BERNAMA) - Furniture giant Ikea has pulled a Chinese TV commercial after backlash from viewers that the ad was perpetuating negative images of single women, Xinhua news agency reported.

The commercial starts with a mother telling her single daughter: "Don't call me mum if you still can't come back with a boyfriend."  

The daughter is then shown bringing a boyfriend to the family living room.

The atmosphere in the home then changes drastically, with the parents pleasantly tidying up with the help of Ikea items.

A caption that says "celebrate every day easily" then appears on the screen.

Many people on social media accused the commercial of promoting traditional expectations for women to marry early, preferably in their early 20s, Xinhua reported.

Single women in their late 20s or older are often under heavy pressure to get married, especially from parents. For those who do not, the phrase "leftover women" is sometimes applied.

In a statement, Ikea said it understood the concern over the commercial and apologised "for giving the wrong perception", according to Xinhua.

"Ikea encourages people to live many different lifestyles,"  the statement said, adding that "gender equality is a fundamental part of the Ikea culture and values".

It is not the first time a well-known foreign brand has gotten into trouble because of a commercial. In July, the German brand Audi pulled a commercial that appeared to compare women to used cars.