Bus company pulls topless 'ride me' adverts after outcry

Bus company pulls topless 'ride me' adverts after outcry
by Elena Cresci
Monday, 11 May 2015

A bus company has come under fire for promoting a new route with a poster on the back of its vehicles showing an apparently topless woman holding a sign saying “ride me all day for £3”.

The adverts, by Cardiff-based New Adventure Travel, prompted outrage in the city and on social media. The company, which runs services in Cardiff and elsewhere in Wales, including school buses, was promoting the launch of a fleet of new buses for a cross-city service in Cardiff.

At 11.30am on Monday, just a few hours after the campaign first appeared, the company said the adverts would be withdrawn. While the posters feature both female and male models, the female versions came in for particular criticism on social media.

Hana Johnson, who is part of the team who runs hyperlocal blog We Are Cardiff, saw the bus on her morning commute. She said: “I got stuck behind one of these buses in Canton at 8.45 this morning. With our following of 30,000 people, we try not to use We Are Cardiff to express opinions, but I felt like we had an obligation to the women and men of Cardiff to call this company out on the commodification of a woman’s body, and the trivialisation of prostitution. “I guess you could use the ‘it’s just a laugh’ argument, but in 2015 does a bus journey really need to be sexualised to market itself?”

The company was apologetic on Monday. “Firstly we have stated that our objectives have been to make catching the bus attractive to the younger generation. We therefore developed an internal advertising campaign featuring males and females to hold boards to promote the cost of our daily tickets.

“The slogan of ‘ride me all day for £3’ whilst being a little tongue in cheek was in no way intended to cause offence to either men or women and, if the advert has done so then we apologise unreservedly. There has certainly been no intention to objectify either men or women. Given the volume of negativity received we have decided to remove the pictures from the back of the buses within the next 24 hours.”

Source: Guardian UK.