A UK-based taxi company has recently found itself in hot water for using sexist, ageist, and fat-shaming ads in an attempt to attract costumers. A recent advertisement meant to discourage people from drinking and driving depicts a middle-aged woman with the caption: "If I start to look sexy, book a taxi. Don't make bad decisions because you've had too many!"
The other image depicts a heavier man, suggesting that being with someone who does not conform to society's ideal standard of beauty is, well, wrong.
Understandably, several people were outraged by the company's choice of propaganda and shared their disappointment on Twitter.
— Bolshie Bear (@BolshieBear) January 4, 2017
— Sof (@adoptingstorks) January 4, 2017
A local female-run organization, Bristol Women's Voice (BWV) also issued a statement saying that regardless of intent, the campaign reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and should be removed.
"It is unacceptable for businesses to use derogatory and sexist images especially when targeting younger audiences," Penny Gane, Chair of BWV told the Bristol Post. "This should be seen as an opportunity to present modern images that challenge harmful stereotypes and present a broad range of representations that young people can relate to." (Read: London Bans Body Shaming Ads From Public Transport)
CityFox has since responded to the allegations and has agreed to take down the ads, though they refused to apologize.
"As one of the West Country's biggest taxi providers, we see all too often the effects that excessive alcohol consumption can have on people's safety and wellbeing and the destructive consequences for society when this leads to anti-social behavior," Sophie Palmer, the company's marketing and communications manager, told METRO. "We make no apology for using humor and hard-hitting messages to highlight this issue... However, it would never be our intention to cause embarrassment or offense, and as such, we have withdrawn the campaign."