Ikea is the latest advertiser to turn its attention to the chore gap between men and women, something it's doing in several markets to mark International Women's Day this year.
The brand has already focused on the issue in an Instagram "card game" campaign, Fifty Fifty, running in several markets, and now it's turning its attention in Italy to the seemingly innocent phrase "can I help?"
In a campaign by We Are Social's Milan office, it posted an open letter on social media to the Italian dictionary, Trecanni, asking them for a linguistic point of view on the phrase.
"When it comes to household chores, we have noticed that one of the most frequently used phrases is: "Can I help?". In most cases, it is women who hear this phrase, not men," the letter points out. "It's an expression that seems harmless and kind. But, in reality, it subversively conveys a deeply misguided cultural norm, implying that housework is the sole responsibility of women."
The brand also posted some provocative captions on social media, for example "Don't help her with the ironing," explaining below that when you're saying that, you're saying that it's a woman's duty.