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Banned From the Subway!

April 26, 2019

In major cities across the nation, public transportation like buses and subways are full of huge ads for every product imaginable. Well, almost every product imaginable. Here are some companies who were forbidden from hocking their wares. 


In 2018, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which regulates subways in New York City, rejected posters for a product called Tushy. While bidets have been around for decades, and are commonly used in Europe and Japan, they’re not as popular in the U.S., and Tushy wants to get more people on-board with its system, which cleans one’s, well, undercarriage, with a jet of clean water. The ads depicted a person sitting on the John, along with an explanation of what the product does. The MTA rejected the ads, because one of them used a slightly off-color slang term for the anus, which is a violation of a specific MTA policy.


Earlier in 2018, the MTA turned down ads by a company called Unbound, a health and wellness company that sells adult items along with feminist T-shirts and jewelry. Unbound commissioned prominent artists to design their ads that showed women having fun. Some of them were deemed sexually suggestive — one illustrated woman appeared topless, but with body-painted flowers — and so they didn’t make it into the subway.


While those examples are mildly controversial, other bans aren’t so surprising. The MTA decided to ban alcohol advertising of any kind because it could be seen by so many people under the legal drinking age of 21. Over in the U.K., another indulgence will no longer be touted in the London Underground and on buses: junk food. Via a direct order from London mayor Sadiq Khan, ads selling fast food, junk food, candy, sugar-laden sodas, and even products like nuts that are high in sodium can no longer be shown on public transit.

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