On Monday, London’s new mayor Sadiq Khan announced a new plan to ban ads that promote an unhealthy body image on public transport.
What sparked his decision?
In 2015, an advertisement for Protein World featuring a young, thin model in a bright yellow bikini and the caption “Are you beach body ready?” was featured throughout London’s underground system. The weight-loss ad was widely accused of "body shaming" and resulted in 378 complaints, along with a petition for it to be removed.
Khan has now set up an advertising steering group to advise Transport for London’s advertising partners.
He 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.”
The ban is aimed only at public transport.
As Graeme Graig, Transport For London's (TFL) commercial development director noted, “Our customers 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.”
According to The Financial Times, TFL's advertising estate is the most valuable of its kind in the world and set to be worth more than $3 billion in revenue over the next eight years.