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Sadiq Khan bans ‘body-shaming’ adverts on the tube

The London mayor plans to crack down on ads that promote ‘unrealistic expectations’ of bodies on all TfL lines

Sadiq Khan has ushered in a new advertising policy aimed at eradicating adverts that promote unrealistic body types on all TfL services.

The London mayor’s rules will come into affect from next month, as part of a pledge he made during his mayoral campaign.

In a statement, 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.”

It’s been almost a year since the controversial Protein World ad: the ‘Are you beach body ready?’ campaign which launched dozens of public protests, a 7,000-signature strong petition and over 200 complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency. Despite claims it was promoting body-shaming, the watchdog ruled that it wasn’t offensive.

Over 12,000 ads are run on the transport system each year. Though many of us are plugged into our headphones and avoiding even the idea of making eye contact with someone we’re sharing a pole with, we’re pretty much constantly surrounded by advertising on our twice-daily commute.

Khan also hopes to bring in a steering group within TfL which will partner with its main advertising agencies – who manage £1.5bn in ads – to see this policy is enforced and complied with.

TfL commercial development director Graeme Craig told the Guardian: “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.”