The Sofitel Brisbane has apologised for a seemingly innocuous full-page newspaper advert it ran in various magazines and newspapers over the weekend.
The photo of a gorgeous robe-clad couple enjoying some morning reading over their luscious breakfast in bed may look pretty appealing.
But the choice of reading material and placement of food has, according to critics, catapulted them straight back to the 1950s. In fact, one suggested it looked like a scene from Mad Men.
While the man catches up on the business and money news in Australia’s Financial Review, his partner is leafing through Chanel’s coffee table book.
The suggestion that only men understand finance, while women enjoy lighter material for their daily read, left numerous viewers with a sour taste.
Property reporter Elizabeth Redman tweeted Sofitel Brisbane, saying: “just wanted to let you know I’m a woman and I also read the @FinancialReview every day”.
Liv Caisley said: “Ugh this ad is seriously misguided. Believe it or not, we’re capable of a whole lot more than just looking at pretty pictures. I know what I’d prefer to read.”
And Eliza Barr commented: “Ah yes, those hotel mornings when you wake up, put your hair in a nice chignon and read a coffee table book about Chanel!”
Others were annoyed with the placement of the breakfast selection, Kumi Tauchi tweeting: “Of course the fruit platter is on her side, she’d be loathed to touch the baked goods…”
Sofitel has apologised for the ad and confirmed it has been pulled from any future publication.
The hotel group replied to each critic, ensuring them the portrayal was never meant to cause offence.
“We appreciate you voicing your concerns. There was no intention of portraying a stereotype, but we recognise it and apologise for any offence it has caused,” it said.
“The creative has been pulled from any future activity. Feel free to send us a DM if you’d like to discuss further.”
Others, however, thought the furore was a storm in a teacup and said there was nothing to apologise for, describing the backlash as “unwarranted” and “over the top”.
“If this is all you have to worry your mind about then you are a very lucky person indeed, geez,” one said, while another tweeted: “Give it a spell, it’s just an ad, heck.”