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Disrespectful mop head advert lands fostering agency in hot water

Agency apologises and withdraws campaign after it was described as 'jaw-dropping offensive'...

Mop head, Little Acorns Fostering, advertising, private fostering, apologise
Screenshot from the advertising video which has now been withdrawn

Professional Social Work magazine - 9 January, 2020

A private fostering agency has been forced to withdraw a “shocking” and “disrespectful” advertising campaign in which children are compared to mops.

The ‘Swap the Mop’ campaign by Little Acorns Fostering in Suffolk features a video in which a couple are seen looking after a mop dressed as a human. It ends with the message: “Put your love to better use. Consider fostering a child today.”

A backlash on social media even saw Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon respond.

She said: “It is not the purpose of fostered children to fulfil a need in adults and they should never be compared to inanimate objects.”

The video shows the couple feeding the mop, teaching it to ride a bike, dressing it and posing for a graduation photo with the cleaning implement. It was described by one commentator on Twitter as “deeply weird and disturbing”. Another said: “There’s edgy marketing and then there’s jaw-dropping offensive”.

Kenny Murray, public affairs co-ordinator for Who Cares Scotland, who was in care as a child, said: “I cannot understand, no matter how I look at it, how this campaign came to be.

“Every single person coming into care should receive lifelong and loving care. They just shouldn’t be personified in mop form to do this.”

Little Acorns Fostering said it wanted to “sincerely apologise” for the offence caused, admitting it had “got this terribly wrong”.

“The intention of the campaign was not to offend but to highlight the wonderful experience that is being a foster carer and to raise awareness of the current need for thousands of foster carers in the UK.”

Business service director Michael Jillions added: “We have taken down the campaign and hope we can be forgiven as we will always remain dedicated to providing children in care with the very best outcomes.”

This article is published by Professional Social work magazine which provides a platform for a range of perspectives across the social work sector. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the British Association of Social Workers.