'career women make bad mothers' bus ads pulled

The Outdoor Advertising Association has ordered the withdrawal of controversial billboard ad which read "Career women make bad mothers" following an outcry from working mothers.

The ads, which were part of an OAA campaign designed to promote the effectiveness of billboard advertising, started appearing on the side of buses and on an estimated 11,000 billboard sites this week and were due to run for two weeks in total.

However the OAA today ordered them to be immediately replaced with alternative slogans. These will be "Educashun Isn't Working" and "1966. It Won't Happen This Year", a reference to England's chances in this summer's World Cup.

One of more than 450 contributors to the Mumsnet forum, notevenamousie, wrote of the Working Women Make Bad Mothers poster: "The one on the side of a building today felt like a kick in the stomach. So I am being a decent role model and crying blood, sweat and tears for my girl is bad. I don't know what else I can do."

Another, dittany, added: "Somebody needs a ladder and an aerosol can to sort this out. Or a lot of someones, a lot of ladders and a lot of aerosol cans. I just can't imagine what it must be like to be a woman working in companies that are doing stuff like this."

Justine Roberts, co-founder and managing director of Mumsnet, said: "Mumsnetters thought the campaign to be ill-conceived, crass and stupid and the reaction on Mumsnet was a mixture of annoyance, contempt and despair in fairly equal measure."

The campaign was devised by veteran creative Garry Lace, from the Beta agency, to show the power of billboard advertising as an alternative to digital advertising. He was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

A spokeswoman for the campaign confirmed that posters bearing the slogan were being pulled. She added that this was due to the "outcry and the publicity over the past couple of days".

The strategy head of Beta, Sharon Johnson, said: "There has been a misunderstanding with an important mothers' forum about this campaign which is about sparking a debate. It is not what the campaign thinks. But rather than offend people the decision has been taken to replace the posters saying 'Working women make bad mothers' with other slogans which work just as effectively."

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