Sexist advert sparks outrage

Oxford flyer drop leads to calls for taxi firm boycott


Angry activists at Oxford are today demanding a boycott of a local taxi service after images of a “sexist” advertising postcard were sent to a number of Oxford homes.

The postcard features a stock image of a woman, in the rain, and in a state of undress, with the caption “Should have used 001 Taxis”.

Outrage: The advert sparked controversy on Facebook

Critics claim the image brings up associations with sexual assault. One local activist described the image as “sexist, vulnerable, disempowering”, and another branded it part of a “victim-blaming discourse”.

One member of the popular ‘Misogyny Overheard at Oxford’ Facebook group has even called for a boycott of the firm.

“girl caught in the rain”

For their part, the company has asserted through their official Twitter feed that “the image is merely of a girl caught in the rain” and “holding [her] dress”.

However, the story has taken on a new dimension, as the Tab can reveal that this is not the first we’ve seen of the postcard.

An identical postcard from London-based cab firm Data Cars caused a similar furore a month ago, reported by the Daily Mail.

The two postcards are completely identical on both front and back, with the sole change being the name of the firm.

As in Oxford, the advertisement was heavily circulated on social media and sparked a firestorm of anger and argument.

Deja vu: The London use of the advert made its way into the Daily Mail

Alice Nutting, a second-year English student who initially posted the image to ‘Misogyny Overheard’, told the Tab: “One wonders whether 001 Taxis took direct inspiration from the taxi company which used the exact same image only a month ago.

“In light of this, how are we really supposed to believe their claims of ignorance? Is that even an excuse?”

Data Cars manager Les Chapman defended the ad similarly to 001 Taxis, telling local paper the News Shopper: “The way we viewed the image, it is simply a girl who has gone out on a hot summer evening and the predicable British weather has opened the heavens and she got soaking wet”.

Questions will now need to be asked on the true intention behind the advertisement; several students have defended the postcard on social media as a mistake rather than a provocation, with one summing it up as “inoffensive intentions being poorly executed”.

Speaking about the advert in London, Katie Russell of the Rape Crisis said: “the worst case scenario…they’ve knowingly used scare-mongering, sexist and victim-blaming imagery and messaging in a cynical marketing ploy”.

001 Taxis did not respond to requests for further comment.

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