Sadiq Khan came under fire today for allowing tasteless adverts for ‘Turkey teeth’ and ‘face shots’ on the Tube – despite previously banning posters for hamburgers and chocolate.
Adverts containing strong sexual innuendo and offers to jet abroad for cheap plastic surgery have been branded ‘dreadful’ and ‘hideous’ by MPs and London Assembly members.
It comes at a time the Mayor desperately needs to raise revenue, with Transport for London recently forced to hike fares in return for a £1.2billion government bailout to plug a hole in its Covid-ravaged finances.
Meanwhile, he has been accused by his predecessor Boris Johnson of seeking to ‘rake in money from motorists’ with a massive expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Today, London Assembly Tory leader Susan Hall suggested the financial hit from Mr Khan’s 2019 decision to ban junk food adverts on the Tube may have contributed to driving down standards.
‘When he stopped the junk food ads I had people coming to me saying it was going to cost a fortune because they were the main advertisers on the Tube,’ she told MailOnline.
‘So having taken out a load of the funding stream, it could be that they could be needing to find new people to advertise.’
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One controversial poster is intended to advertise a skiing instructor service that offers guides who know the ‘best face spot shots on the mountain’
Another advert from Durex read: ‘POV you found a better fitting condom’
The Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates Tube ads, has banned adverts on taste grounds in the past.
Last year, it ordered the removal of an ‘irresponsible’ advert for a cryptocurrency called Floki Inu that told passengers, ‘Missed Doge? Get Floki’.
Meanwhile, in 2015 TFL took down ‘offensive’ posters from Protein World that showed a thin woman alongside the caption ‘Are You Beach Body Ready’.
Multiple posters now on display on the London Underground contain sexual innuendo, with one skiing advert mostly made up of two large words: ‘face shot’.
The poster is intended to advertise a skiing instructor service that offers guides who know the ‘best face spot shots on the mountain’.
The top half of the poster has ‘face shot’ in large bold letters and a description of the phrase below: ‘The effect of fresh snow spraying one’s face when skiing in deep snow’.
However, Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes tweeted that ‘we all know what the other reference is…’
The advert is far from an isolated incident. Other posters pictured on platforms and inside carriages include one from Durex, featuring a young woman who has her eyes closed and is smiling while leaning backwards.
Large letters tell passengers: ‘POV you found a better fitting condom.’
Another, which appeared on the Tube just before Christmas, advertised a new dating app which told travellers they could get in touch with anyone they enjoyed ‘flirty eye contact’ with using the Bluetooth on their phones.
‘Had flirty eye contact on the Tube?,’ the ad reads. ‘Making the first more is easy with Genie.
‘Have your Bluetooth on, they’ll stay in your app’s history and you can connect safely now or later.’
Social media users asked how this dating app advert, which encourages people to use Bluetooth to contact strangers on a train, was compatible with posters warning against sexual harassment on the Underground
One Twitter user who spotted the advert placed right next to a government poster calling out sexual harassment on transport said: ‘Two adverts on the Tube this evening: Making eye contact is sexual harassment…but there’s an app for it.’
The advert was criticised by some online who raised concerns the app could pose a risk to women.
Head of the Conservatives in the LGA Susan Hall said: ‘I had no idea that this was going on. It’s absolutely outrageous.
‘Why would you put these sort of things up where children can see them? You have to ask yourself why this is being done. Even one of these [being allowed] is ridiculous.’
She continued: ‘Sadiq Khan banned junk food adverts in 2019 because it’s bad for children and can contribute to health issues and obesity, but it’s quite alright for children, and possibly vulnerable women, to see these kind of adverts.
‘It is not a sensible way forward.’
Responding to the Durex advert, Ms Hall said: ‘You wouldn’t want an impressionable young teenager looking at that.
‘It’s ridiculous that you can have that Durex ad but God forbid you should put up a picture of McDonalds.’
Meanwhile Ms Nokes added to her criticism of the ‘face shot’ advert online: ‘Hideous advert on tube @MayorofLondon @TfL – we shouldn’t have to put up with references like this on transport network, kids are seeing that every day.’
Replying to her tweet, people described the advert as ‘crass’ and in ‘exceptionally poor taste’.
Transport for London, under control of London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, was criticised by UK dentists for hosting advertisements urging Britons to head overseas for cosmetic dental treatment
Another advert for ‘Turkey teeth’ on the Tube
Some adverts offer breast enhancements during an ‘all-inclusive’ trip abroad
There were even adverts discussing Victorian workhouses, which some on social media criticised as insensitive during a cost of living crisis
Another ad that raised eyebrows was for audiobook firm Audible, which some said was inappropriate given the implications of the cost of living crisis.
The poster reads: ‘This is the story of that classic commute spent ddging eye contact on your way into workhouses of squalid Victorian England.
‘And your escape, straight into the arms of a murderous pickpocketing gang.’
Meanwhile multiple ads for plastic surgery and dental treatment have also come under fire over concerns of the medical risks for those viewing the posters.
Many offer ‘affordable’ and ‘all inclusive’ trips to destinations such as Turkey – but MailOnline has previously told of the severe complications which can arise from receiving such budget surgery.
TfL has ran advertisements for Istanbul-based dental clinic Dentakay, which offers the ‘Hollywood Smile’ treatment, as well as clinics offering breast enhancement and other surgical procedures.
Ms Hall told MailOnline: ‘Are they doing any checks on these ads?
‘I mean really? The surgery ones have they done any checks on these clinics?
‘If not it will be costly for us public because they will have to be put it right on the NHS.’
The controversial Hollywood Smile dental procedure, made popular by stars such as Katie Price and Love Island’s Jack Fincham, involves filing down natural teeth to pegs then replacing them with crowns or veneers.
Debate broke out about the implications of encouraging cosmetic surgery, especially one that numerous Britons said left them in pain and suffering complications after having the treatment abroad.
Junk food adverts were banned from TfL Underground services and stations from 2019 by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Although the move was deeply controversial, research published last year showed the campaign did seem to have the desire effect.
Academics calculated Londoners purchased around 385 fewer calories each week now than they would if the ban was not introduced.
This is the equivalent of one-and-a-half bars of chocolate, according to researchers who say the advert ban could work elsewhere.
Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes called the advert ‘hideous’ and said that ‘we all know what the other reference is…’
Transport for London’s advertising ban, signed off by the Mayor, was implemented in February 2019.
Its blanket approach, adopted on every TfL mode of transport, blocks all promotions of food and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar. Items affected include cheeseburgers, salted nuts and sweets.
But critics at the time called it ‘absurd’, warned it would barely make a difference and pointed out that unhealthy food could still be displayed through ads for food delivery companies, such as Deliveroo and Just Eat.
The new analysis, of the shopping habits of roughly 1,000 families in London, shows the policy cut their energy intake from unhealthy food.
Meanwhile TfL also faces a battle against ‘flyposting’, when people place unofficial adverts on top of a paid-for ad.
In October, thousands of cannabis adverts with a discount code were ‘flyposted’ on the underground.
Dispenseroo, a cannabis delivery service with similar branding to Deliveroo, placed 2,500 paper adverts for its services in carriages.
A similar campaign saw fake ads being put up with read ‘Dear Rishi Sunak, please go f**k yourself’.
Campaign groups such as Extinction Rebellion have also flyposted the London Underground in the past to raise awareness of issues such as climate change.
Transport for London and Sadiq Khan have been contacted for comment.