German government criticised for ‘stupid and sexist' bike helmet campaign

The ads are turning heads.

The German transport ministry has been criticised after it created an advertising campaign promoting the wearing of bike helmets which some have claimed is “stupid and sexist”.

The advert features male and female models posing in their underwear wearing bike helmets, accompanied by the slogan: “Looks like shit. But saves my life.”

The adverts feature Germany’s Next Top Model contestant Alicija Kohler.

The German transport minister, Andreas Scheuer of conservative party the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), has said the advertising campaign is aimed at young men and women who choose not to wear helmets due to their appearance.

However others in Germany’s coalition government have described the campaign as “embarrassing” and “sexist”.

Two models pose for the bike helmet campaign
One of the advert shots from the campaign

“It is embarrassing, stupid and sexist for the transport minister to be selling his policies using naked skin,” Maria Noichl, of the Social Democratic Party, told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Fellow Social Democrat Franziska Giffey, the family affairs minister, shared a photo of herself to Facebook addressed to Mr Scheuer, pointing out that she could wear a bike helmet and be fully clothed.


Posted by Franziska Giffey on Friday, March 22, 2019

The campaign has also been mocked by some Germans on social media.

Under the official campaign hashtag #HelmeRettenLeben, meaning “helmets save lives”, some shared photos of themselves in helmets and their usual cycling gear.

Meanwhile, a male Twitter user jokingly shared a photo of himself wearing a bra and a helmet made of toy bricks.

The tweet is accompanied by the caption “safety is important”.

In defence of its advert, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) said in a statement that the video version of the advert has been viewed by 1.78 million people aged between 14 and 49.

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