The London transport network may soon be free of advertisements that promote negative body images. Mayor Sadiq Khan is planning to ban such advertisements across the Transport for London (TfL), which included the subway system – locally known as the tube – as well as on buses and trains from next month, BBC reported.
Khan had vowed to ban adverts that promoted “unhealthy or unrealistic” body images in his mayoral election manifesto. “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…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,” he said.
In 2015, the Advertising Standards Agency had received 378 complaints about a weight-loss advert (pictured above) that asked customers if they were “beach body ready”. The promotional posters of dietary supplements manufacturer Protein World were defaced in Tube stations. A petition was also started calling for the ads to be banned, but ASA had ruled that showing a woman in a bikini was neither offensive, nor irresponsible.
Khan has directed TfL to set up its own advertising steering group, which will be given the task to advise the transport network’s advertising partners and stakeholders about the mayor’s new policy on advertisements. The group will also have to ensure that adverts adhere to the ASA’s regulations.