appeared to . . . be unwarranted, generalized,
disparaging comment to the effect that all
husbands are lazy."
Regan, 47, complained to
the national advertising watchdog after being
offended by a commercial that aired during a
home renovation program he watched on HGTV this
The commercial features a female customer
going into a Rona store with an imaginary
complaint called "homestressidous." A
sympathetic female clerk suggests the customer's
husband never helps out around the house. The
customer confirms this and the clerk responds:
"That's OK. They (husbands) are all like that."
Initially, Regan said he thought he misheard
what was said. But seeing the commercial again
later confirmed his first reaction.
"It was definitely portraying men, especially
in the family unit, as lazy," said Regan.
Regan said Rona dismissed his complaint when
he called and wrote about the commercial, saying
the ad was meant to be funny.
A customer service representative who
responded to him in writing said the commercial
was one of four aimed at attracting female
"We wish to thank you for taking the time to
shared (sic) your thoughts," said the letter to
Regan, "for customers like you make it a little
easier to pursue our goals. Thank you and have a
On Friday, a Rona spokeswoman told the Herald
in an interview that the company was sorry.
"Rona's intention was never to offend
anyone," said Eva Boucher-Hartling.
The commercial is no longer on the air, but
only because it completed its six-week scheduled
run in the spring, said Boucher-Hartling.
The company has not received the ruling on
Regan's complaint -- the only one about the
commercial, she pointed out. She was uncertain
whether the ad is scheduled for another run.
Under Advertising Standards Canada
regulations, Rona must either change or pull the
commercial. The ruling, however, is not binding.
Regan said he was prompted to complain
because he's tired of media images he believes
negatively portray men and fathers. The
stereotypes, he argued, rob boys and families of
a positive role model.
"The average Canadian father is a decent
human being," said Regan, who is alone raising
his nearly 10-year-old son.
"We're tolerating these images (of men) as
knuckle-dragging neanderthals. The media
portrays fathers and grown men as habitual, lazy
Last year, the advertising group received
1,040 complaints from consumers about 723
advertisements. Forty of those ads were judged
to have contravened Canadian standards.
Retail or store advertising garnered the most
complaints, followed by automobile commercials.
The watchdog would not comment on its ruling
because Regan's complaint has not been made
public by the watchdog.
© The Calgary Herald 2007