New London Mayor Sadiq Khan has had little involvement with the fashion industry since he came to office in May; however no fear was shown in making one of his manifesto promises policy yesterday, as he banned adverts on the TFL network that promote “unhealthy or unrealistic” body image.
Following in France’s footsteps, the Mayor has pledged to establish TFL’s own monitoring team to ensure all advertisements on the underground network meet the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)’s guidelines. Prompted by a recent campaign in protest of online fitness shop Protein World‘s latest ‘Summer Body Ready’ posters, Khan explained to the Telegraph
“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 ad in question caused controversy earlier in the year following its ban – and later reinstatement – by the ASA. It was found to be neither offensive or discriminatory – and let’s face it, the advert does not directly discriminate or offend. The ultra-fit Renee Somerfield, who modelled for Protein World clearly works out, but is her body unrealistic? A body like that is beyond going to the gym twice a week… it’s a lifestyle, a consumer base that Protein World is clearly targeting.
But the question is, do you think the advert-makers have gone too far this time?