A German government ad featuring underwear-clad models with bike safety helmets has been criticised as “embarrassing, stupid and sexist”.
The transport ministry’s new marketing drive is aimed at boosting the take up of head safety gear among cyclists and uses the slogan: “Looks like s**t. But saves my life.”
But the head of the Working Group of Social Democratic Women (ASF), part of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has urged the department to ditch the poster campaign.
“It is embarrassing, stupid and sexist for the transport minister to be selling his policies using naked skin,” chairwoman Maria Noichl told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
The posters are reportedly set to begin appearing in cities across Germany next week.
Both the BMVI transport ministry and Germany’s road safety association DVR has argued the ads are a good way of getting safety messages across to young people.
A spokesperson for the department said: “A successful road safety campaign should jolt people and can be polarising.”
Katja Mast, the deputy leader of the SPD’s parliamentary group for women, Katja Mast, also called the campaign “embarrassing, stale and sexist”.
She told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: “Taxpayer money should not be spent to put half-naked women and men on posters.”
Josephine Ortleb, also from the SPD’s parliamentary group for women, told the same paper a good campaign needed “neither women as objects, naked skin nor sexism to make young people aware of cycling safety”.
Christian Kellner, the DVR’s chief executive, said: “It’s important to reach the target group of young people because the helmet wearing rate in this age group is terribly low. We succeeded in doing that.
He added: “The helmet cannot prevent accidents, but it can protect against life-threatening head injuries.”