John Lewis pulls 'potentially misleading' home insurance advert

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John Lewis has been forced to pull its latest home insurance advert after the financial watchdog found it was "potentially misleading".

The high-end department store chain's advert, called Let Life Happen, had depicted a young boy wearing his mother's lipstick and girls' clothes as he strutted around the house to a song by Stevie Nicks.

The boy caused a mess as he knocked a vase off a shelf after throwing an umbrella across the room, got paint on the floor before rubbing some on his cheeks, and then jumped up on a table and danced around.

John Lewis tweeted on Wednesday to say that it had withdrawn the advert, which first aired on 11 October, because the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) considered the content to be potentially misleading and could confuse customers about the insurance.

It clarified that its accidental damage cover was available as an add-on to John Lewis's new home contents insurance product and only covered accidental, not deliberate, damage.

The retailer said in a statement: "You may have seen our 'Let Life Happen' advert for our new home contents insurance offering, which ran between 11 and 27 October 2021.

"This advert has been withdrawn because the Financial Conduct Authority considers the content to be potentially misleading and could cause customers to be confused about John Lewis's new home contents insurance offering.

"This was absolutely never our intention.

"The 'Let Life Happen' John Lewis home insurance advert was created to show a joyful depiction of a young actor getting carried away with his performance, oblivious of the unintentional consequences of his actions."

The department store chain said it would like to clarify that "accidental damage cover is available as an add-on to John Lewis's new home contents insurance product and only covers accidental (not deliberate) damage".

The company has also decided to contact every customer who purchased their new home contents insurance cover from 11 October to 31 October to confirm they understood the product and are happy with their purchase.

An FCA spokesman said: "Financial services firms' marketing must be clear, fair and not misleading."

The ad had already caused controversy before the FCA's decision, with some accusing it of "agenda-pushing" and sexism and others saying it depicted "male entitlement" and "gender extremism".

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