A dating website has caused uproar by implying that red hair and freckles should be seen as ‘imperfections’.
The advert – for match.com – appeared on several posters on the London underground, along with another suggesting that a person with different colour eyes should not worry about their ‘imperfection’.
The dating site has been accused of ‘profiting from bullying’.
Emma Kelly from the website Ginger Parrot said: “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.”
The adverts are part of an ongoing campaign which tells people not to worry about their perceived imperfections as they will be attractive to somebody else.
The ‘imperfections’ in other adverts in the campaign included personality and behavioural traits such as being late, fussy, untidy, wearing socks in bed, singing in the shower or being a bad dancer.
However, it seems that the marketing team at Match have run out of ideas which has led to them badly misjudging the impact of their latest ads.
The suggestion that aspects of a person’s appearance could be dismissed as an ‘imperfection’ has angered London commuters who have taken to social media hit out at the dating site.
Kelly continued: “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.”
Twitter users have said that the advert is damaging, disgraceful, bullying and the ‘lowest form of advertising’.
— city vegan Ⓥ (@cityvegan) April 10, 2016
— Charlie Clemmow (@charlieclemmow) April 8, 2016
Righteous freckles activism. pic.twitter.com/uStGEQVWHr
— Nick Dastoor (@NickyD) April 11, 2016
— Emily Forbes (@eemilyjf) April 10, 2016
— Pammiegee (@pam_gee) April 10, 2016
— Katharine Longworth (@Klongwo) April 11, 2016
— Fleur Bone (@FleurBone) April 11, 2016
— Heather DeLand (@HeatherDeLand) April 11, 2016
— Rebekah Walker (@RebekahWalkerUK) April 11, 2016
— Charlotte Henderson (@charlottehendo) April 9, 2016
A spokesperson for match.com said: “Our adverts reveal common perceived imperfections and quirks of Brits – these include freckles which some people who have them may see as an imperfection. We think freckles are beautiful and our posters are designed to encourage everyone who has them to be proud.
“We’re sorry if anyone has been offended by our latest ad – that was not our intention – but we’re really encouraged to see so many people standing-up for what makes them unique.”