A Cardiff-based transport company has come under national criticism after launching a ‘sexist’ advertising campaign on the sides of its buses.
New Adventure Travel (N.A.T) received widespread attention after posting the company’s new campaign on social media on Monday, 11 May. The advert, created to promote a new bus route, featured an image of a naked woman accompanied by the slogan ‘ride me all day for £3’.
An accompanying advert saw the same branding placed next to an image of a naked man.
The campaign came under fire only hours after its launch, as Cardiff community blog ‘We are Cardiff’ described the image as: ‘absolutely unacceptable way of advertising a bus ticket.
‘It represents the commodification of a woman’s body and trivialisation of prostitution, and has no place in 2015.’
According to the Advertising Standards Agency, 45 complaints have been made against the advert.
Stephen Doughty, newly elected MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, also took to Twitter to voice his ‘disgust’ towards N.A.T.
Despite the outrage caused, controversy was quickly rectified, as the bus company promised to remove the offending advert within 24 hours of its launch.
The company’s quick response wasn’t able to stifle national headlines as The Independent, Mirror and Channel 4 News among other media outlets picked up the story.
The advertising was featured on ten buses on a new route running between Pontprennau and Culverhouse Cross via Cardiff city centre.
In a statement, N.A.T apologised for the image and explained that the campaign was intended to make the ‘bus more attractive to the younger generation’.
It appears the company didn’t consider the reception the poster would receive from parents of the very youngest generation, as one angered mother took to twitter to vent: ‘HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO EXPLAIN THIS AD TO MY PRIMARY SCHOOL KIDS??’
The campaign was described by the company as ‘a little tongue-in-cheek’ but ‘in no way intended to cause offence to either men or women.’
However, despite the company’s apology, Women’s Officer Laura Carter has expressed concern over the comments made.
‘I’m glad that the bus company have responded quickly to the criticism and decided to take the image down but the fact that they were aware of the implications of their “tongue-in-cheek” advertising policy and still decided to pursue is problematic’ she said.
‘I would want any woman in Cardiff to feel able to use public transport without feeling they were being objectified’, Carter continued.
The campaign’s intentions were also slated by media professional Miranda Bishop, after labelling N.A.T’s intentions ‘frankly embarrassing’.
‘Reducing people to a sexual object regardless of gender has no place in modern marketing’.