A short film produced by RAW for Mermaids. Starring 18-year-old Ethan. This ad often appears on Minecraft videos on Youtube, and to be clear these Minecraft videos are watched by children. Seeing as ASA in the UK has banned "harmful gender stereotypes" I wonder how this ad flies. As Ethan plays the video game, and describes feeling "lost" at school, two girl bullies appear on screen to laugh mechanical ha-ha's. Ethan describes a conversation where "the words just disappeared" as the game character dies, and the arcade game asks whether to continue. Yes, this is quite the writing on the nose, Ethan's game character will die if Ethan doesn't hit continue, the implication here is that Ethan would have committed suicide if not accepted. As with most films that pass the 90 seconds, this didn't need to be this long but what's more concerning is that this ad literally targets lonesome tweens with the idea that you can select your sex - right as they are about to hit the most difficult developmental hurdle in life. The teenage years. Yes, everyone feels lost and confused when the hormones start flowing, and the very first time a young girl is cat-called, she wants to turn back time to when that didn't happen.
Googling Mermaids, we find they're a controversial charity who seems to mainly push to fast-track kids into transitioning. This article in the Times reports in it; stating that the Gender Identity Development Service (Gids) has “close relationships with organizations that are identified as part of the pro-trans lobby such as Gendered Intelligence and Mermaids, and [they went] to some lengths to placate them.” The article said that sources within the clinic had said that Mermaids were “critical” of the service provided by the clinic and had claimed that claiming that “its refusal to treat children more quickly leads many to attempt suicide”. One staff member was quoted as saying, “We are caught in the middle. We are accused of going too quickly by some people and too slowly by others”.
With all of that in mind, I'm amazed this ad isn't banned.
Creative agency: Raw London
Director: James Page
Writer: James Page in collaboration with Ethan Produced by: Thomas Paul Martin & James Page Director of Photography: Lee Jones
Art Direction: Tom Fuller
Animation: Tom Fuller