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'Embarrassing, stupid and sexist': German cycling ad criticised for featuring model in underwear

The ad aims to encourage cyclists to wear a helmet.
Mar 25th 2019, 9:31 AM 100,597 109

A NEW CAMPAIGN by the German transport ministry which aims to encourage cyclists to wear a helmet has sparked a sexism row because it features a model in a bra.

The ad features the slogan “Looks like shit. But saves my life” beside an image of Alicija Köhler, a competitor on the TV show Germany’s Next Top Model, wearing a helmet and underwear.

The campaign was set to run on billboards across the country from tomorrow but many, including members of Germany’s junior coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD), have called for it to be axed.

“It is embarrassing, stupid and sexist for the transport minister to be selling his policies using naked skin,” Maria Noichl, chairwoman of the party’s women’s wing, told Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Family Minister Franziska Giffey also hit out at transport minister Andreas Scheuer of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) party.

Posting a photo of herself dressed in a business attire with her bicyle on Facebook, she wrote: “Dear Andreas Scheuer: fully dressed also goes well with a helmet!”

A transport ministry spokesman defended the ad, saying that successful road safety campaigns should “jolt people” and could be polarising.

Scheuer added that “the slogan may not really correspond to the usual bureaucratic German language, but it conveys the message pretty well”.

With reporting from - © AFP 2019

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Stephen McDermott

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