It’s no surprise that the majority of big brands are jumping the bandwagon on progressive and liberal ad campaigns. However, such initiatives often attract a great deal of controversy (for example, two of Gillette’s advertisement campaigns have received huge backlash over their progressive ads – one on body positivity – and the other on toxic masculinity). Now the Swedish multinational manufacturing company, Volvo, has come under the spotlight for featuring two same-sex parents in their most recent ad. The company was introducing its newest paid gender-neutral parental leave policy which was inspired by the Swedish approach to parental leave and chose an illustration of two same-sex parents which stirred up controversy on their Facebook page.

More info: Volvo

Today, the giant car company, Volvo, has come under fire for featuring two same-sex parents in their ad

Image credits: Volvo cars

The car manufacturing giant has introduced a new policy on paid, gender-neutral parental leave for their employees. This is how Volvo has introduced the idea: “Being the human-centric and progressive company that we are, our EMEA team wondered: Can we extend those benefits to our employees outside Sweden? Turns out we can. To start with, we now introduce a paid, gender-neutral parental leave policy for all our sales company employees in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East & Africa) offering parents a total of six months of leave with 80 percent pay.” The head of Volvo’s HR also added: “The EMEA initiative is one of several activities with the aim to create an inclusive culture and attract and retain a diverse set of people. It improves life-work balance, boosts family time and fits with a progressive, human-centric company like Volvo Cars.”

Most countries in the EMEA region already offer some form of paid parental leave

However, as Volvo explains, there exists a large discrepancy between what is available for mothers and fathers – often to the disadvantage of the latter. The policy is also aiming to boost the labor market and career opportunities for women by “reducing career and pay gaps.”

It is not the first Volvo initiative on addressing inclusivity

Image credits: Volvo Car UK

Just last year, the car company released an ad called “The new family model.” In the Westfield shopping center in London, Volvo has redesigned the family parking icons to reflect more modern families – including ones of same-sex parents.

However, many people were not happy with Volvo’s choice of illustration

A Volvo representative responded to Michael’s comment saying: “Hi Michael, you are of course entitled to your opinion. However, we must disagree.”

Another user commented that Volvo should feature the same ad on the Volvo Cars United Arab Emirates page. No representative has responded to it yet.

Volvo representatives have also responded to the suggestion, saying: “Hello Konrad. This is part of our people strategy. Being a human-centric company with a culture built on caring about people, this is in line with what we stand for as a company.”

The comment section turned into quite a discussion

Nonetheless, numerous people were celebrating the initiative as well as Volvo’s choice of illustration

What do you think? Is it “too much” for you? Is the company just trying to boost their revenue by exploiting progressive and popular ideas? Or are they really as liberal and human-centric as they claim to be?