Sadiq Khan is cracking down on “unhealthy” body image adverts across TfL properties

Mark Sands
Follow Mark
MTV Europe Music Awards - Posters on the Tube
London mayor Sadiq Khan is going to ban "unhealthy and unrealistic body imagery" (Source: Getty)

London mayor Sadiq Khan will ban adverts featuring unrealistic, or unhealthy, body shapes from next month.

Following up on a pledge from his mayoral campaign, Khan has issued a new advertising policy for all ads submitted to TfL in tube and bus stations.

He has also asked TfL to establish a steering group featuring the firms which run the transport network's advertising spaces, with a remit to monitor its approach to advertising, and keep policy under review.

Last year's controversial Protein World ad was approved by the regulator

Khan said: “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.”

Khan's pledge comes almost exactly a year after the UK's advertising watchdog ruled that a controversial "beach body ready" advert on the tube network was not offensive, despite the marketing receiving almost 400 complaints.

Read More: This man in hotpants was the most offensive ad of the year

The changes will affect an advertising estate expected to generate more than £1.5bn in revenue over the next nine years, covering spaces on the Tube, Overground, Docklands Light Railway, trams, bus shelters, buses and Victoria coach station.

In March, TfL signed a 10 year deal with Exterion Media to run the spaces on trains and over 400 TfL stations. It is expected to generate £1.1bn over ten years.

Following an August deal, advertising on 4,900 bus shelters will be operated by JCDecaux for the next eight years, and is expected to generate £300m.

Related articles