Pret-a-Reporter

Mayor of London Bans Body-Shaming Ads

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Sadiq Khan

"Nobody should feel pressurized, while they travel on the tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies," says Sadiq Khan.

Newly elected London mayor Sadiq Khan is making moves to ban body-shaming advertising in London's transport system. Starting next month, Transport for London (TfL) will not allow ads that can be seen as promoting unhealthy or unrealistic body images in the city's network, which includes the Tube, trams and buses.

"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," said Khan in an official statement. "Nobody should feel pressurized, 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."


BIKINI BOD: The Protein World ad in question. (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

Khan was vocal about unrealistic images in advertising during his campaign, when a bikini-clad woman in a weight-loss ad for the brand Protein World in April 2015 stirred up a furor, and garnered more than 70,000 signatures in an online petition in support of its removal from the Tube. The Advertising Standards Authority later ruled in favor of the ads, despite almost 400 complaints. (On the other hand, the ASA has banned ads by Jack Willis, Gucci and Saint Laurent for promoting either over-sexualized images or featuring unhealthily thin models after getting one complaint from each.)

Khan has also asked the Transport for London (TfL) network to set up a steering committee with its advertising agencies, Exterion Media and JCDeceaux, to oversee compliance with the new, body-positive regulations.

According to the Mayor of London's website, advertising on the TfL network is set to generate more than £1.5 billion in revenue in the next eight-and-a-half years — the most valuable advertising space in the world.

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