Dartmouth, Nova Scotia's Mic Mac Mall has pulled a back-to-school advertising campaign targeted at young girls that some suggested was sexist.
The ads depicted young women saying things like, "Mixing patterns — now that’s a science!" and, "My favourite class? Shop!"
Many people on social media expressed outrage over the ads, calling them demeaning to women.
Others claimed those upset by the ads are being overly sensitive.
Patricia Parsons, communications professor at Mount Saint Vincent University, said she thought the campaign was tasteless, a bit sexist and humiliating to women.
"Unfortunately there probably are young women who probably find this thing kind of funny. It's one of the things though that I suspect their parents don’t find very funny. And I did note yesterday on Twitter that a father chimed in and said, ‘So this is what they think of our daughters,’" she said.
Rebecca Logan, marketing director for Mic Mac Mall, said in a news release that the mall was sorry for offending customers.
"We’ve heard what our customers have had to say and we understand why you’re angry. It was never intended to be offensive," said Logan.
Parsons said the damage may have already been done to the mall's reputation.
"Well I think it’s as they say, ‘A day late and a dollar short,’ it’s one of those things they should have done in the first place, before they ever implemented this plan. There should have been some decision-making around the whole idea of whether or not something is appropriate, tasteful and an ethical approach to communication which is what this campaign was supposed to be," she said.
Parsons said it’s important in marketing to always ask the question, "Does this harm anyone?"
"The fact of the matter is that those questions are often not asked."
Logan said the company was cancelling the campaign with all media outlets and announced it plans to donate $5,000 to a local organization "that focuses on empowering girls."
Logan said the organization will be chosen by early next week.