Sadiq Khan: There will be no more 'body shaming' adverts on the Tube
Adverts which put Londoners under pressure over body image are to be banned from the Tube and bus network.
Sadiq Khan announced that Transport for London would no longer run ads which could cause body confidence issues, particularly among young people.
The Mayor, a father of two teenage daughters, warned the ads could “demean” women and encourage them to conform to unrealistic or unhealthy body shapes.
TfL’s new advertising policy, which does not include all images of people in their underwear or swimming gear, is only expected to affect a handful of the 12,000 adverts a year which run across the network, including at bus shelters and on-street sites.
It means controversial adverts like Protein World’s “Are you beach body ready?” poster, which provoked a huge backlash when it appeared last year, would no longer be allowed.
The weight-loss ad, which featured a bikini-clad model, sparked a protest in Hyde Park as well as a petition on Change.org with more than 70,000 signatures, although it was not banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Mr 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.”
The Mayor claimed there would be no impact on TfL’s income as a result of the move, with the body still expected to generate more than £1.5 billion from advertising over the next eight years. Last year it made £170 million, up from £152 million in 2014.
He asked TfL and advertising partners Exterion Media and JCDecaux to set up a steering group to keep the policy, which will apply to all new ads submitted to TfL, under regular review.
TfL will continue to refer campaigns to the Committee of Advertising Practice to ensure that they meet ASA regulations.
The change comes a result of passenger feedback, rather than public consultation, but City Hall denied it was nannying Londoners.
Graeme Craig, TfL Commercial Development Director, said: “Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media.
“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.
“We want to encourage great advertising that engages people and enhances the transport network.”