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Sadiq Khan moves to ban body shaming ads on London Transport


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London Mayor Sadiq Khan has made the move to ban body shaming ads from London’s transport network as of next month, claiming such ads promote “unrealistic expectations” and create an unhealthy body image.

The newly elected Mayor pledged to tackle advertising on the tube network during his campaign and has asked for Transport for London (TfL) to stop running ads similar to the above, believing that this type of advertising “can demean people, particularly women.”

This decision comes after advertisements focussing on being ‘beach body ready’ last April led to protests and an online petition calling for their removal, which attracted over 70,000 signatures. Many of the posters were vandalised.

Protein World, the company behind the ads, were accused of “directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product.”

Despite the great support for the petition and 200 complaints, the advertisement was not banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

In a statement, Khan said: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”

“Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”

(John Stillwell/PA)

The Mayor’s office has also asked for TfL to set up a steering group in partnership with its advertising agencies to monitor and review compliance.

TfL commercial development director Graeme Craig said: “Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media. Our customer’s cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.”

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