Land Rover is at the centre of a sexism row today after the company was accused of not showing women drivers in their advertising.
Presenter Mariella Frostrup, 56, sparked a furious debate after watching what she said was ‘1980s style messaging’ in Land Rover’s latest television commercial.
The advert shows English mountaineer Kenton Cool, 46, climbing a sheer rock face before traversing rugged Kazakstan landscapes in a Land Rover Defender.
Presenter Mariella Frostrup, 56, sparked a furious debate after watching what she said was ‘1980s style messaging’ in Land Rover’s latest television commercial (pictured)
At the start of the advert Mr Cool, who has ascended Mount Everest 14 times, stands on the summit of the mountain he has just scaled.
He receives a text on his smart watch saying ‘where are you? Don’t be late!’ and pulls out a map to plan his 4,440-mile route – drawing a red line straight across the world.
It then cuts to Mr Cool drinking out of a cup as the vehicle glides effortlessly over boulders, through water and both up and down steep mountains.
Ms Frostrup retweeted the advert saying ‘shame Landrover’ and claimed they ‘just want men to buy’ their cars
Other twitter users joined the debate that was sparked by Ms Frostrup’s (pictured) tweet
But some Land Rover fans were angered by what they labelled as overt masculinity, claiming the company wanted to avoid attracting female drivers.
Ms Frostrup said on Twitter: ‘Shame Landrover, still with the rugged Alpha Male explorers.
‘There’s plenty of wildwomen capable of great things. Maybe you just want men to buy your cars?
At the start of the advert Kenton Cool, who has ascended Mount Everest 14 times, stands on the summit of the mountain he has just scaled
Mr Cool receives a text on his smart watch saying ‘where are you, don’t be late’ and pulls out a map to plan his 4,400-mile route – drawing a red line straight across the map
The clip cuts to Mr Cool drinking out of a cup as the vehicle glides effortlessly over boulders, through water and both up and down steep mountains
‘Best I sell my defender and get a new car from a company who appreciates female drivers.’
‘It’s a great car but if Landrover don’t want to encourage women drivers I’m happy to invest elsewhere.
‘I loved my Landrover defender until the company who make it confirmed through advertising that it’s a car for men.
‘I’m not a kiddie carrier either so try not to patronise me or any other woman.’
Followers flocked to agree with the TV presenter and writer.
Some Land Rover fans were angered by what they saw as overt masculinity that indicated a desire to avoid female drivers buying from the brand
Paul McCarthy said: ‘It would have been so easy to have a man climbing and women climbing in different locations for driver to then collect and then have a woman taking the Landrover to its limits.
‘More adverts need to provide positive female images.’
Menai N said: ‘My daughters and I adore our ancient defender – from the minute we got in we have planned adventures – we haven’t made it to Africa yet but we’ve been camping out so much this summer.
‘Couldn’t agree more about the depiction and need for change.’
Others disagreed, saying it was just a man in an advert which is ‘still allowed’.
But Mariella shot back: ‘Indeed let’s check ratio of ads for LR with men in them to ads with women driving them? If I’m mistaken about everydaysexism I’ll apologise.’
Kaye Mayers then joked: ‘Well I suppose we’ve progressed from the bonnet.’
Previous Land Rover adverts have featured women but Ms Frostrup says it isn’t enough
A Land Rover Defender 110 is displayed at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany on September 13
Mariella added: ‘To change culture you HAVE to send out different signals. Having a hirsute male ‘explorer’ just compounds the stereotype and I am very surprised at @landrover for their 1980s style messaging.
‘Women love landrovers, drive them, and yes, rock climb too!’
Mark Simpson responded: ‘I’d be perfectly happy seeing Mariella, or any other woman, front the next Land Rover advert.
‘I know a number of women who drive 4X4 and higher performance cars. Land Rover and the other car manufacturers are missing out on a largely untapped market.’
Sarah said: ‘I know! Most of the Defenders local to me are driven by women – I myself have a 110 * let’s be represented !!!’
John O’Brien added: ‘More women buy cars than men but more men design and market them.
Ms Frostrup responded to the Twitter users who commented on her reaction to the advert
‘This is the surprising but nonsensical situation that exists in this sector. Totally missing the target.’
And Peter Allen said: ‘There will be all kinds of stats about target demographic and brand personality – rugged, uncompromising etc. And yes they will have been written by men following focus groups with…. men. Like you say, these qualities are not exclusive to any gender so….’
But Suzy Hillier disagreed, pointing out Mr Cool has summited Everest 14 times.
She said: ‘Don’t think you’ve got this one right. That’s a massive achievement. There is really no need to find faux outrage in everything.
‘I’m a feminist but there is nothing wrong with this ad. Chill!’
Mariella replied: ‘Maybe, but it bugs me because I’ve been driving a landrover for twenty years and NEVER seen an advert with a woman driving one.
‘It’s the car my daughter wants to inherit and it seems about time they recognised their female clientele.
‘There are women who’ve summited Everest too.’
And she added that the company ‘don’t seem to want women as customers.
Responding to a previous Landrover ad, Mariella added: ‘OMG @LanroverUKPR you HAVE to change your messaging.
‘It’s ‘manly’, a ‘boy’s toy’, you can ‘misbehave in it.’ WTF! When do you intend joining us in the 21st century and including female customers?’
Recent Land Rover ads have featured Brit model Adwoa Aboah plugging the Range Rover Evoque and royal Zara Tindall is also an ambassador for the brand.
Recent Land Rover ads have featured Brit model Adwoa Aboah plugging the Range Rover Evoque and royal Zara Tindall is also an ambassador for the brand
A spokesman said the company used positive female role models as well as male ones.
He said: ‘Land Rover works with a wide variety of ambassadors both male and female. ‘For example, for the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque we worked in partnership with Adwoa Aboah and Jamie Oliver.
‘For the new Defender, Ambassadors Zara Tindall and Kenton Cool joined us in Frankfurt with Julia Bradbury hosting our global reveal live stream.
‘The specific launch video mentioned was merely one part of a much wider launch campaign featuring a mix of male and female personalities.’
The Land Rover brand is owned by Jaguar Land Rover, which is in turn owned by India’s Tata Motors.
The original Land Rover is regarded as a British icon and was granted a Royal Warrant by King George VI in 1951.
Jaguar Land Rover currently build Land Rovers in Brazil, China, India, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom.