An ad campaign run by taxi firm Data Cars has fallen foul of rape campaigners after they pointed out that the distressed waterlogged woman depicted on a series of postcards could be construed as having suffered a rape.
200,000 of the promotional postcards were distributed by the Lewisham based minicab company along with the tag line ‘Should have used Data Cars’, ostensibly to remind people of the dangers of walking in Britain’s variable climate.
It sparked an immediate furore on Twitter with commentators pointing out that shadowing on the woman’s arms resembled bruising, prompting complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Katie Russell of Rape Crisis branded the piece as a ‘really unfortunate and misguided piece of advertising’, saying: “The best case scenario, giving the company the benefit of the doubt, is that they're not aware of the associations that the image on this postcard conjures.
“The worst case scenario is that they've knowingly used scare-mongering, sexist and victim-blaming imagery and messaging in a cynical marketing ploy.”
Defending the campaign Data Cars manager Les Chapman said: “The way we viewed the image, it is simply a girl who has gone out on a hot summer evening and the predicable British weather has opened the heavens and she got soaking wet.
“This is something we see every year and this year we decided to place an advertising campaign with this in mind.”