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‘Spit or swallow’ beer mats put in Sussex freshers’ welcome boxes

The campaign has been branded as ‘sexual harassment’


The University of Sussex has been criticised for including a "spit or swallow" beer mat in their welcome boxes, which every fresher on campus received over the course of the welcome weekend.

The beer mat was promotional material for a toothbrush subscription service called BrushBox, which was emblazoned with the words: "Whether you spit or swallow as part of your (twice) daily oral regime, place your tootbrush on autopilot."

Amongst backlash on Twitter, many parents were outraged by the content that their children would be receiving. Mumsnet user DukeofSussex criticised: "A picture of a woman designed to look like she has spunk dripping down her face to sell toothbrushes."

Another user added: "What a hostile, threatening environment for young women university has become."

A University of Sussex Students’ Union spokesperson told The Metro: "We were very disappointed to find this promotional material in our Dig-In boxes, and will be reviewing whether to renew our contract with this supplier."

BrushBox have also responded to the backlash against the marketing of their product, saying: "We’re really sorry if anyone has been offended by the promotional image used in the Dig-In boxes. We now realise it was inappropriate and misguided of us to use this type of image as a way to raise awareness of dental health issues.

"We completely understand that the image could be deemed as derogatory to women and for that we are truly sorry – this was never our intention, and we take full responsibility for any upset it has caused."

According to Metro, Dig-in, the company responsible for compiling the welcome boxes, is the provider for "80 per cent of freshers", suggesting that many other freshers could also receive BrushBox's questionable marketing campaign.