Following the release of its 2022 Christmas advert Waitrose has received strong criticism due to its portrayal of farmers comparing sun tans. The supermarket faced social media backlash with some commenters saying it failed to highlight the dangers of sunlight.
The Waitrose Christmas advert 2022 features clips of farmers working all year round to produce food for the festive season. In one part of the advert one of the farmers is seen comparing his tan with another while working in the summer sunshine.
The Melanoma UK charity said: "Waitrose can do better than this," to which the supermarket giant responded with “sorry for the upset caused”. An additional statement from the grocer said that a medic who was on site during the filming of the advert gave advice to its farmers to "stay safe" and added they "made sure everyone wore high factor sun protection".
Gill Nuttall, chief executive of Melanoma UK, went on to tell the BBC it was time "everyone started to look at skin cancer with their eyes wide open. The comparison of tans dates back many years, before we knew better."
Ms Nuttall was not happy with Waitrose’s response saying: "Waitrose has a great platform to get a safety message out, yet when challenged on social media, their staff point out that they sell sun care products across their stores. I’m not sure they quite get the point. This advert isn’t about sun cream, it’s meant to be their Christmas offering."
A Facebook user commented on the video posted to the Waitrose page saying it was: "absolutely astonishing that a company like yourselves should be showing farmers glorifying in their suntans. This is a kick in the teeth for all melanoma patients and for all the organisations trying to educate everyone into the dangers of sun tans."
Waitrose responded to the comment saying that they were ‘so sorry to hear this’ and added that the company supported sun safety and sold sun care products across their stores. A staff member went on to say: "The farmers featured are real suppliers, and the images are based on real life stories reflective of their daily work - including this farmer and his sun tan.”