Adverts which are designed to undermine Londoners’ confidence in their body will be banned on the Transport for London network from next month, in keeping with mayor Sadiq Khan’s manifesto pledge.
The policy, which Mr Khan adopted from former Labour mayoral hopeful Tessa Jowell, will make it much harder for advertisers to promote unrealistic or unhealthy body shapes in order to sell their products.
Dame Tessa proposed the ban in response to adverts such as the controversial “Are you beach body ready?” poster which drew hundreds of complaints from passengers but was later cleared 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.”
TfL will also set-up an Advertising Steering Group, which will include representatives from its partners Exterion Media and JCDecaux and a range of stakeholders, to keep its advertising policy under regular review.
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.”