Waitrose has cut a scene from its Christmas advert featuring two farmers comparing their tans following a complaint from a skin cancer charity.
The supermarket faced a backlash on social media after posting the video, which shows the two farmers lifting up the sleeves of their t-shirts to show off their tan lines.
Some viewers raised concerns that the scene, which features real-life Waitrose suppliers growing and harvesting food, glorified sun tans and failed to highlight the dangers of sun exposure.
Cancer charity Melanoma UK also commented, writing: “Waitrose can do better than this.”
The supermarket has already apologised for the scene, but today confirmed it has been removed entirely from the advert.
A Waitrose spokesperson said: “Our ad celebrates the care and effort that our Partners and real farmers – who work in all weathers – put in to make sure our customers have what they need for Christmas.
“While we included some light-hearted and ‘true to life’ moments, we’ve listened to the comments made about the serious message of sun safety and will be using an updated version of the ad to address these concerns.”
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The minute-long advert, which features a backing track of Bing Crosby’s version of ‘It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas’, shows real-life Waitrose suppliers as the previous Christmas ends and preparations for the next begin.
Two passing farmers then lift up their sleeves to compare the tans on their arms. Later, the food is harvested and delivered to a family’s front door in time for Christmas.
But the tan line comparison moment sparked a backlash on social media, with some saying that it was a “kick in the teeth” for melanoma patients.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer which, left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body.
About 16,700 people a year are diagnosed with melanoma. Doctors believe exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun and sun beds to be one of the leading risk causes.
One Facebook user wrote: “(It is) absolutely astonishing that a company like yourselves should be showing farmers glorifying in their sun tans.
“This is a kick in the teeth for all melanoma patients and for all the organisations trying to educate everyone into the dangers of sun tans. What on earth were you thinking to include this in a Christmas advert? Words fail me.”
Another, on Twitter, wrote: “Do you really think the part with the farmers comparing their tans is funny? As someone with stage 4 melanoma, I don’t’.
But others disagreed, with another saying: “There will always be some who like to complain and who seek out & court controversy wherever possible.
“As a Stage IV malignant melanoma patient, I see no cause for offence in this ad. None. Just potential for Christmas joy!”
Last year, a Tesco Christmas advert featuring a double-jabbed Santa Claus became the most complained about TV advert of the year after COVID vaccine sceptics launched an online campaign.
The advert, which was named ‘This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us’, received more than 1,500 complaints, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.