Victoria Pendleton backs Hovis fitness campaign - but is it sexist?

Video shows women how to incorporate exercise into household cleaning regime

by Simon_MacMichael   January 4, 2012  

Hovis and Victoria Pendleton

Victoria Pendleton, who is going for gold at the Olympics in London this August, is once again the face of a New Year campaign by Hovis to encourage people to get fit and healthy in the year ahead. But is it one that could unwittingly lead the Olympic champion, herself an outspoken critic of sexism in sport, into the minefield that of gender politics surrounding the issue of housework... and specifically, who does it?

In the wake of securing that gold medal at Beijing, Pendleton accused the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, of sexism due to the female track cyclists having fewer events at Beijing than their male counterparts.

That gender imbalance has now been remedied – there will be five events for both men and women at the Olympic Park’s Velodrome this summer, and as well as seeking to retain her individual sprint title, Pendleton is also targeting the team sprint and the keirin.

But at a time when female road cyclists are calling for fairer treatment, the latest campaign by the Premier Foods-owned brand, while a good example of pre-Olympic ambush marketing, risks reinforcing gender stereotypes.

In a video accompanying the launch of a Hovis Facebook app aimed at helping people achieve their fitness goals, the 31-year-old says: “The secret to a healthy lifestyle is not crash diets or marathons from scratch, it’s about setting your own realistic, achievable targets that fit around your lifestyle.”

She goes on to do show women how to achieve that – with stretching exercises while doing the vacuuming, using jars in the kitchen as weights, or getting a good workout while mopping the floor.

Now, market research consistently proves that women are much more likely than men to undertake household chores in the first place, and also to spend more time on them.

Factor in childcare responsibilities among those with children and perhaps the demands of a job too, and it can be difficult to find time to exercise.

Incorporating a fitness regime into aspects of your daily routine can be one way of overcoming those time pressures.

We can’t be alone in thinking, however, that Hovis could have perhaps found a better way of getting that message across.

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

"We can’t be alone in thinking, however, that Hovis could have perhaps found a better way of getting that message across."

Pose naked on a bike?

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
4th January 2012 - 13:16

like this
Like (1)

I can only hope it's ironically retro... And who's that person lurking behind her as she's mopping the floor?

Chiswick

posted by Chiswick [45 posts]
4th January 2012 - 13:34

like this
Like (2)

Quote:
stretching exercises while doing the vacuuming, using jars in the kitchen as weights, or getting a good workout while mopping the floor.

You're pulling my leg, surely! Have we gone back to the 1950s?

People don't need a "fitness regime", they need to get out into the real world - ride bikes, walk more etc. It's explained here: http://road.cc/47292

Hovis don't give a shit about your health or your weight, they just want you to buy their crappy factory bread Sick Do yourself a favour and eat more real food.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1737 posts]
4th January 2012 - 13:50

like this
Like (2)

Well at least it's not negatively weighted to women, in that they're [hovis] completely not trying.

That's not sexist, it's satirical.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1724 posts]
4th January 2012 - 14:03

like this
Like (0)

Simon E wrote:
Quote:
they just want you to buy their crappy factory bread Sick Do yourself a favour and eat more real food.

I'm pleased to confirm that our editor Tony makes his own bread, and very tasty it is too Smile

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7347 posts]
4th January 2012 - 14:11

like this
Like (1)

MMMmmmm Banana sandwich.

RoadChimp's picture

posted by RoadChimp [20 posts]
4th January 2012 - 14:28

like this
Like (2)

Dettol appears to have got a free plug in there I notice.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [887 posts]
4th January 2012 - 14:55

like this
Like (2)

who cares if it's sexist really? Victoria is sexy and thats all that matters surely ...

posted by Karbon Kev [637 posts]
4th January 2012 - 15:39

like this
Like (1)

I'm not sure who they ask during market research. I do my share of cleaning, clothes washing and dish washing and cool most of the meals in our house and I know plenty of men who do their bit. It's becoming like the myth that women are safer drivers when they seem to
break the speed limit and drive as aggressively as men these days.

Yours sincerely

Renaissance Man

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [921 posts]
4th January 2012 - 15:42

like this
Like (1)

Disclosure: I did spend a chunk of my career in consumer research, and I did double-check some recent (and robust in terms of sample size and being nationally representative) surveys before writing the article.

Yes, there are more households nowadays in which the workload is shared; but in most, the burden for keeping the house clean and tidy does fall on the female. The gap is narrowing slowly, but it definitely still exists.

Not backed up by anything other than anecdotal evidence, but I'm pretty certain your average bloke's idea of 'tidy' is rather different from that of his partner Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7347 posts]
4th January 2012 - 19:01

like this
Like (2)

It's not sexist. Women generally do the housework, it's a fact, how is that sexist?? I believe they're also less likely to try and find time specifically for exercise than men, so this is useful stuff.

Get over yourselves and stop trying to find things to get offended about.

caketaster's picture

posted by caketaster [17 posts]
5th January 2012 - 3:32

like this
Like (0)

'I'm pretty certain your average bloke's idea of 'tidy' is rather different from that of his partner'
(looks at living room, then looks at garage)

Aye, he's got a point there...

posted by andyp [612 posts]
5th January 2012 - 10:01

like this
Like (2)

Like most Olympic year ads... CRRRRRRRINGE!!!!!!!!! But this really is hilarious, it's like a sketch from the Fast Show!

Sq

Squiggle's picture

posted by Squiggle [409 posts]
5th January 2012 - 10:32

like this
Like (1)

At least the ad does clearly state that you should seek medical advice before attempting any of the Hovis excercises... Such as cleaning the floor or vacuuming???? Hmmmm better schedule a doctors appointment or my house is going to be a right state this year!

Sq

Squiggle's picture

posted by Squiggle [409 posts]
5th January 2012 - 10:39

like this
Like (1)

caketaster wrote:
It's not sexist. Women generally do the housework, it's a fact, how is that sexist?? I believe they're also less likely to try and find time specifically for exercise than men, so this is useful stuff.

Get over yourselves and stop trying to find things to get offended about.

The points in your first paragraph are all covered in the article. we're not saying we're offended (although I certainly imagine some could be by it), but we do wonder if the message could have been got across better.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7347 posts]
5th January 2012 - 10:58

like this
Like (1)

caketaster wrote:
It's not sexist. Women generally do the housework, it's a fact, how is that sexist?? I believe they're also less likely to try and find time specifically for exercise than men, so this is useful stuff.

Get over yourselves and stop trying to find things to get offended about.

You're wrong. It is sexist, mostly because of its adherence to gender stereotypes and patronising tone. As the article says, it's the delivery that is dubious.

posted by hoski [58 posts]
5th January 2012 - 12:42

like this
Like (1)

Hoski----if the floor in the ad. was being cleaned by a bloke, there'd be a flood of complaints because "that wouldn't be reflecting reality", surely. Roll on, robots.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [207 posts]
16th January 2012 - 3:08

like this
Like (1)

For me its more about the quality of the bread that has me confused. How can the so called Hovis rubbish we are served up with in our local supermarkets and the tie in with healthy living and diet go together. Its a total oxymoron.

It like having BMW sponsoring the Olympics and a healthier form of living while there car pump out load of crap.

Sexist - couldn't care less. Maybe we need more specific targeted advertising, that aims to inform and inspire various specific groups, or genders. It may work better than general promotions which is aimed at everyone, and affects or inspires absolutely no one.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [114 posts]
28th January 2012 - 19:22

like this
Like (1)