‘Embarrassing, Stale and Sexist’: Bike Security Advert in Germany Attracts Anger


BERLIN — As he held up one of many new posters concerning the significance of carrying a helmet when biking, the German transport minister mentioned the protection marketing campaign was meant to attract consideration.

“It’s all about getting seen,” the minister, Andreas Scheuer, mentioned on the official unveiling final week.

The posters have actually achieved that. The main focus has not been on the helmets, although, however reasonably on the shortage of different clothes worn by the fashions, who’re pictured of their underwear, and on the language used, which many take into account vulgar.

“Embarrassing, stale and sexist,” was how one lawmaker described the marketing campaign.

“Half-naked men and women shouldn’t be put onto posters at taxpayers’ expense,” the lawmaker, Katja Mast, informed the German each day Passauer Neue Presse.

Ms. Mast is a member of the Social Democrats, which is a part of the governing coalition that additionally consists of Mr. Scheuer’s occasion, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria.

The protection posters with girls in lingerie and bare-chested males — although no bicycles in view — search to make the purpose that though it’s tough to look good in a helmet, the headwear can save lives. The marketing campaign makes use of fashions from the truth tv present “Germany’s Subsequent Prime Mannequin,” which is hosted by Heidi Klum, and encompasses a slogan in English that features a profanity.

Based on the Transport Ministry, the marketing campaign is aimed particularly at younger girls who suppose helmets are unattractive. The posters will line bicycle paths in main German cities and can value 400,000 euros, or about $453,000, the ministry mentioned.

The marketing campaign, with its hashtag “helmets save lives,” instantly drew scorn on social media.

Franziska Giffey, the minister for households, posted an image of her pushing her bike carrying a helmet and on a regular basis garments. “Expensive Andreas Scheuer,” she wrote, “It’s also possible to be dressed whereas carrying a helmet.”

One other Twitter consumer, Udo Güngerich, wrote: “I might have most popular it if an S.U.V. had run over a half-nude helmet wearer. Only for realism’s sake.”

Aside from the nudity, the profanity within the slogan was a reminder of how Germans can fall foul of utilizing phrases in official settings that English audio system would often balk at listening to in public. In December, Chancellor Angela Merkel used an English profanity to explain chaos throughout a speech in German at a know-how convention.

Accidents to cyclists have develop into a major concern in Germany. In 2018, 432 cyclists died in accidents, in response to ADAC, a German car affiliation, 50 greater than the 12 months earlier than. Carrying a helmet when biking just isn’t obligatory in Germany — 40 % of riders below age 30 don’t even personal one, and solely eight % of riders aged 17 to 30 put on one, in response to a ballot commissioned by the Transport Ministry.

Mr. Scheuer, the transport minister, has a historical past of awkward public messaging. The 44-year-old goes to some size to point out a breezy, youthful aspect. He makes use of a shortened model of his title on Twitter and has posed as a visitor D.J. at a dance membership. He has additionally filmed himself giving a velocity tour by way of his ministry and utilizing a bike-sharing service to go residence from work, regardless of having a status as an advocate for automobiles.

A spokeswoman for the Transport Ministry, Svenja Friedrich, mentioned on Monday that the marketing campaign had been meant to garner curiosity. “We will completely perceive the criticism from varied sides, however we nonetheless stand by the photographs,” she mentioned.

In a publish on Twitter responding to the furor generated by the posters, Mr. Scheuer expressed gratitude for the eye and referred to as it one among his ministry’s most profitable campaigns to this point.

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