A TELEVISION ad showing two dads leaving a baby on a restaurant conveyor belt is among the first to be banned under new gender stereotyping rules.

Some 128 viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a Mondelez ad for Philadelphia soft cheese featuring two new dads leaving a baby on a restaurant buffet conveyor belt while they were distracted by the food.

Complainants said the ad perpetuated a harmful stereotype by suggesting that men were incapable of caring for children and would place them at risk as a result of their incompetence.

Under the new rules that came into effect on June 14, ads “must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.

Mondelez UK argued that the ad showed a positive image of men with a responsible and active role in childcare in modern society, adding that it chose two dads to deliberately avoid the typical stereotype of new mothers with the responsibility of childcare.

Ad clearance agency Clearcast said the dads’ agreement to “let’s not tell mum” was a “commonplace exclamation signifying embarrassment” that could equally be applied in role reversal.

The ASA said the ad was intended to be light-hearted and comical but portrayed the men as “somewhat hapless and inattentive, which resulted in them being unable to care for the children.”