The wintery days may be dark, but this week everybody is seeing red. Following an apology by Tesco for stocking a Christmas card that apparently mocked people with ginger hair, the Advertising Standards Authority has banned a Virgin Media advert that it says implies “people with ginger hair are unattractive”.
The ad asked, “How do you spot a ginger in the dark?… Looks or personality, who wins?” an inference that the ASA said “was unlikely to be interpreted to be light-hearted in tone”. Instead, it believes that the Virgin Media ad is “likely to be seen as prejudicial against people with ginger hair.”
Virgin Media has claimed the advert was a once-off and it did not intend to use it again, but they insisted it was not offensive. The ad appeared in the Metro newspaper and was used to promote the programme “Dating in the Dark”, which Virgin said “challenged people’s perceptions of attractiveness” and encouraged them to make decisions based on personality as well as looks.
But how important is hair when dating, anyway? And what sort of personality perceptions do we currently make, based on hair colour?
According to an AXE Hair survey, nearly 74% of women agree that hair is one of the first things they notice about a man, but there are conflicting studies about what women prefer. Some suggest that younger women are attracted to greying, balding men, while others say that women find hair loss a major turn-off. When it comes to the colour, however, it seems that your personality can be categorised according to your hair.
A poll conducted by the Clairol Hair Colour Team asked more than a thousand women a number of questions in order to gauge the influence of hair colour on personality perceptions. The results were that blondes are perceived as fun and flirty, brunettes as smart and serious, and redheads as strong and intimidating. Interestingly, most women said that if they could change their hair colour for a day, they would go red.