Brightstar

BridgeCrowd responds to backlash over 'vulgar' advert




BridgeCrowd has been removed from Brightstar Financial’s lender panel as a result of an advertising campaign it recently ran.

According to a tweet from Rob Jupp, CEO at Brightstar Financial, this was the first time that the specialist distributor had removed a lender from its panel for what he described as “horrific sexism”.

Rob added that there was no place in the industry for such advertising.

The advert in question asked: “Need something lower?” alongside an image of a woman’s cleavage.

It also stated the current minimum lending amount for its bridging loans.

Clare Jupp, director of people development at Brightstar, said: “As an industry, we are making great strides towards better gender representation and just today HM Treasury has announced that [more than] 350 organisations have now signed the Women in Finance Charter, covering some 800,000 financial services employees.

“As a business, we have committed a lot of time and energy towards the promotion of diversity and the Women in Finance Charter.

“We have a very clear idea of the direction in which we believe the industry should progress and we are working hard to achieve this.

“At Brightstar, we cannot reconcile our values with the vulgar and obsolete use of clumsy sexual innuendo included in this advert.

“It represents everything that we are working against and, consequently, we have removed the lender from our panel.”

In response, Jade Keval, head of sales at BridgeCrowd, said: “This advert was put out as tongue in cheek jest about needing something lower with an image of a woman's top.

“I saw it before it went live and actually approved it.

“This advert has caused quite the uproar, and has been insinuated we are laughing in the face of [women] in finance, or equality.

“That is simply not true and that is not what we intended.

“I am a believer in woman rights — rights to have an equal opportunity in life and work.

“I am the proud employee of a company, which prides itself with equal opportunity.

“I head up a sales teams, which has more females than males.  

“Our head of marketing is female. In fact, the whole office has more females than males.

“So did we miss the mark? When I saw this advert, I laughed. That advert was meant to be a jokey, tongue in cheek retaliation to another lender’s loan size.

“I am not the judge of what is right and wrong on the politically correct marketing compass.

“I just know my first reaction, as a woman, when viewing this was just a simple laugh and approval.

“If what I approved has genuinely caused offence to a woman (or man), then I am sorry for those to whom we caused it offence. It was not my intention.

“In my opinion, I think we are way past thinking that a woman only has boobs and no brains.

“It is almost ironic.”

The advert was highlighted by Mark Harrison, business development director at Stretton Capital, in a LinkedIn post which so far has had 24 likes and 58 comments.

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