The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Bristol Advertising Sexism

Cab firm refuses to apologise as equality campaigners give 'sexist' ads the red light


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

January 4, 2017 | 4 min read

A Bristol taxi firm is resolute that it will offer "no apology" for a string of ads dubbed "antiquated" and "sexist" by equality campaigners.

Bristol Taxi Firm Sexist Ad

Cab firm refuses to apologise as equality campaigners give 'sexist' ads the red light

South West transport firm City Fox has found itself in hot water after running a number of posters around the city designed to encourage revelers to book a taxi.

One of the ads (below) featured an older full-figured middle-aged woman, while the other featured a man wearing a vest; both contained the slogan 'If I start to look sexy book a taxi. Don't make bad decisions because you have had one too many.'

However, female-run group Bristol Women's Voice (BWV) has taken issue with the ads telling the Bristol Post that its members were "appalled" by the message from the company and is now asking the buisiness to sign up to its Zero Tolerance scheme to reduce sexual violence and abuse against men and women across the region.

The organisation's chair, Penny Gane, said: "Images such as this are antiquated and reinforce harmful gender stereotypes and messages that women are to be judged by their physical appearance alone as well as being fat- and age-shaming.

"It is unacceptable for businesses to use derogatory and sexist images especially when targeting younger audiences, 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."

The travel company has since withdrawn the campaign, but remained unapologetic over its intentions.

"This campaign featured two posters - one depicting a male and one a female - in an attempt to encourage people to think about the need to be able to get home in a safe and orderly manner when they've had a few too many to drink,"​said CityFox Group's marketing and communications manager, Sophie Palmer.

"We make no apology for using humour and hard-hitting messages to highlight this issue - in order for people to think about the possible effects of their behaviour it is necessary to get their attention and get a reaction. The campaign has attracted many positive comments."

The controversy comes as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) continues its investigation into gender strereotyping by brands, which could soon change the way the watchdog regulates campaigns which appear to objectify or sexualise women.

Bristol Advertising Sexism

More from Bristol

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +