Germany’s transport minister has launched a controversial ad campaign to promote the wearing of helmets. The campaign features photos of half-dressed members of Germany’s Next Top Model cast wearing helmets along with the slogan, “Looks like shit. But Saves my life.” The campaign is aimed at young men and women who the transport minister says understand the risks of cycling without a helmet but don’t do it anyway because it’s perceived as unattractive.
The posters are intended to be attention-grabbing but apart from attracting people’s eyes with the photos of bare-chested men and lightly clothed women, the posters have also come under fire for being inappropriate. They also don’t show any of the models riding bikes
“Embarrassing, stale and sexist,” is how lawmaker Katja Mast described the posters to Passauer Neue Presse. “Half-naked women and men should not be put onto posters at taxpayers’ expense.”
Lieber Andreas Scheuer: MIT HELM GEHT AUCH ANGEZOGEN!
German minister for families, Franziska Giffey posted a picture on Facebook of her pushing her bike wearing a helmet while fully clothed with the caption. “Dear Andreas Scouring: You can also wear a helmet while fully dressed.”
A user of Twitter was also critical of the campaign writing, “I would have preferred it if an S.U.V. had run over a half-nude helmet wearer. Just for realism’s sake.”
— Udo Güngerich (@UdoGuengerich) March 25, 2019
Posters from the campaign will be installed in cities throughout Germany and cost taxpayers 400,000 euros ($607,000). On social media, the campaign bears the hashtag “helmets save lives.”
In support of the campaign, the transport ministry cited a poll they commissioned that found that only eight per cent of cyclists between 17 and 30-years-old wear a helmet all the time while only 50 per cent even own a helmet.
“Certainly, this cooperation can help bicycle helmets – similar to ski helmets – get a better image among young people,” said transportation minister Andreas Scheuer. “Such measures for better acceptance are necessary because bicycle helmets can prevent most life-threatening head injuries. There is nothing more important than protecting your health and life.”
Despite the criticism of the campaign, Scheuer celebrated the reach is was getting Tweeting, “Thanks for the huge attention – already the most successful road safety campaign!”