Mayor of London bans “unhealthy” and “unrealistic” body image adverts on TFL

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has banned “unhealthy” and “unrealistic” body image adverts on Transport for London (TfL) properties, in a move to remove images that could spark body confidence issues.

Body Image Adverts
Body image – provided by shutterstock

From next month TfL will no longer allow any adverts to be displayed that could cause body confidence issues, particularly amongst young people. However, the policy does not ban all images of people in underwear.

The decision is expected to affect 12,000 adverts a year on the London Underground, at train stations and in bus shelters. Khan claims that it will not affect TfL’s income, which netted £170 million last year.

The move comes a year after the controversial adverts from Protein World, which asked women if they were “beach body ready” as part of its slimming powder campaign. The campaign was recently ruled “not offensive” by the ASA.

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.”

Graeme Craig, TfL Commercial Development Director, says: “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.”


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