Targeted at shoppers grappling over what to buy a woman for Christmas, the company asks:
“An iron, pyjamas, an apron, a Pandora bracelet. In your opinion, what would make her happy?”
But rather than inspire customers, the ad prompted an angry outburst, with a photo of it being posted on the Facebook page of the Milan-based LeFanfarlo, a burlesque school which says it empowers the voice of women through the dance.
“Dear Pandora, for Christmas LeFanfarlo would like respect, rather than a beautiful bracelet,” the group wrote alongside it.
One commenter described the ad as being "from the Middle Ages”, while another joked “I want pyjamas!”
After the story was picked up by the Italian press, the company’s Italy subsidiary issued a statement on its Facebook page in an attempt to explain the message behind a campaign which has been rolled out across the country.
Addressed to ‘Pandora Lovers’, the company wrote:
“Many of you have seen our 2017 Christmas campaign, and the billboards across Italy. We note that the message has been misunderstood and want to explain it better.
“Pandora has always cared about women and this year we want them to find the perfect gift under the tree. How many of us receive presents we don’t want? This initiative was borne out of research which showed that most women get the wrong gift at Christmas.”
But as the condemnation became more widespread, the company later stressed its point in another statement: “Our aim was to give a nod to the stereotypes we’re all familiar with in an ironic and playful way, with the intention to make you smile and absolutely not to cause offense.”