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British TV Show Comes Under Fire After “Creepy” Bus Ad Featuring Unknowing Passengers

British TV Show Comes Under Fire After “Creepy” Bus Ad Featuring Unknowing Passengers
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UK network Channel 4 has been criticised for a new bus advertisement that uses non-consenting passengers.

The ad is for the long-running dating show Naked Attraction, in which someone looking for love meets a number of contestants vying for a date. However, the twist is that the contestants have more of their naked body (but not face) revealed throughout the show. The person seeking a date then has to also get naked to make their final selection.

In the bus ad, stickers with phrases like ‘loves Naked Attraction‘ and ‘loves being naked’ point to unsuspecting passengers.

Many of the criticisms stem from the fact that sexual assault on buses is a widespread issue. Indeed, a YouGov survey released in January of 2020 fouond that over half of women surveyed had been sexually harassed on London public transport.

Issues with the ad were pointed out by writer Tracy King on Twitter.

Her original Tweet (pictured above) said, “what the hell is this creepy bus ad? You can’t just label non-consenting passengers like that. Does @Channel4 not know how many sexual assaults take place on buses?”

King, who has a background in marketing, also wrote that, “in general you have to be very careful with adverts that include the public without their consent, and that goes double for public transport.”

“Passengers shouldn’t have to navigate ‘am I the butt of a joke on my way to work today’.”

The bulk of commentors on King’s post agreed.

One wrote, “literally just saw that ad for the first time and wondered how it got through clearances”.

Another tagged Channel 4 and wrote, “please don’t just take this ad down. Look at the culture in your PR team, because they clearly don’t have the proper connection to your customer base or a diverse outlook.”

Many pointed out the inappropriateness of running the ad when children use the buses too.

While a handful of commentators defended the ad, some arguing it had been taken out of context, it has now been pulled in a number of jurisdictions.

The official Transport for London Twitter account replied to King’s original tweet.

However, the ad was not just run in London, with reports of it displayed on buses across the UK.

Reading Buses – a company based in Reading, a large town in South-Eastern England – responded to a complaint on Twitter by confirming it would remove any remaining ads.

Lothian Buses in Edinburgh, Scotland also responded to tweets, saying it had passed on the feedback to its media partner. It then confirmed that the ads would be removed.

According to The Guardian, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority received 26 complaints regarding the ad, and is now evaluating the complaints.

Channel 4 has yet to speak out about the ad.

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