London Underground defends its policy on banning ads

London Underground has defended its advertising stance after banning several ads in the past few weeks, claiming some agencies are using the Tube as a PR stunt to promote clients.

Director of marketing and planning Adam Goulcher says the Underground, where 100,000 posters are displayed each month, is unique because of the diverse spread of people passing through it daily.

Goulcher says on average an ad a week is banned from underground poster sites. Recently House of Fraser, Spitfire beer and Miss Selfridge have all had ads turned down.

“I am sure some agencies hope we ban an ad so they can get coverage in the national press, but others are just trying to get close to the edge. I understand why they make such a fuss – it gets better PR. But we have a responsibility to the people who travel with us,” he says.

Sexist or racist ad campaigns are not accepted by LU.

Goulcher adds: “We are prepared to take risks, such as the recent campaign for website the Queercompany.com.”

He denies running the Queercompany campaign simply to quash any bad media publicity, saying: “That was not because the media would have come down on us. We are serious about equality and getting rid of racism, sexism and harassment at work and feel it would be hypocritical of us to try to run a business allowing these things.”

Goulcher says he reviewed the Underground’s policy on advertising standards when he took the position 18 months ago and recent publicity over campaigns banned by LU had not convinced him to do so again.

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