Advertising Sexism Public Relations

Provocative German bike safety campaign branded 'stale and sexist'


By John Glenday | Reporter

March 25, 2019 | 2 min read

Germany’s Transport Ministry has sparked accusations of "sexism" after releasing a cycling safety campaign fronted by a model wearing nothing but her underwear and a helmet.

A transport ministry spokesman has defended the creative execution

A transport ministry spokesman has defended the creative execution

Running with the slogan: 'Looks like shit, but saves my life', the poster ads show a Next Top Model star Alicija Köhler sporting a purple helmet and a lacy bra. While the OOH ads have been designed to encourage cyclists to wear a helmet when on the road, they have sparked controversy.

german sexist cycling ad

The women’s wing of junior coalition partners the SPD has called for the ads, which are due to run from Tuesday (25 March) to be banned.

Katja Mast, the deputy leader of her party’s parliamentary group for women dismissed the ads as “embarrassing, stale and sexist”.

A transport ministry spokesman defended the creative execution, though, saying: “A successful road safety campaign should jolt people and can be polarising.”

Other images in the mix as part of the wider push feature other models, including men, who have also stripped down to their underwear.


Germany's approach contrasts to neighbouring Sweden, where the city of Stockholm has implemented an outright ban on the placement of sexist ads on its streets.

Advertising Sexism Public Relations

More from Advertising

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +