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Driven to Distraction: End of the Road for Topless Bus Ads

A Cardiff bus company has taken down a “tongue in cheek” advertising campaign encouraging more young people to take the bus after a local student took to twitter to complain of “sexualisation”.

The vinyl sticker adverts had only been applied to Cardiff buses operated by the local New Adventure Travel (NAT) group for a couple of hours when Vicky Chandler, Cardiff journalism student, president of the university journalism society, and self proclaimed feminist tweeted at the company. Fresh from handing in her third year dissertation, Miss Chandler snapped two pictures of buses with topless models holding signs suggesting passers by could “ride me all day for £3” – a reference to the price of a day rider ticket. Offended, she immediately took to twitter to voice her disgust.

Chandler, who has already been published in Indy Voices and youth counter-culture blog The Debrief and whose most popular blogs feature titles ‘Why I am not apologising for having an opinion’ and ‘Sex assault, dapper laughs and lad culture: how sexual misogyny has become normalised’ quickly tweeted her delight at having promptly received a reply from NAT buses. An excerpt she shared less than 40 minutes after her first tweets read:

“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”.

Adverts being pulled after minimal resistance from the public is an increasingly normal part of modern life. Breitbart London reported on another recently pulled campaign last week, albeit a slightly higher budget one, after Prada fell foul of the censors. Although the campaign featured a well known adult model, the Advertising Standards Agency forced Vogue to cancel the campaign because it was claimed the pictures sexualised children.

Vogue protested the decision, remarking that it’s educated, “sophisticated” readership would not be offended, and didn’t need dictating to.

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