An advert featuring a topless model in his fifties has been banned amid claims it sexually “objectified” him.
The dating app campaign showed 58-year-old Paul Orchard, wearing just braces, holding a phone with the tagline: “Pull a cracker this Christmas.”
Transport for London’s advertising agent, Exterion Media, demanded that it be changed to feature a clothed model with a “less suggestive” tagline.
It claimed the advert for Lumen, the first dating app exclusively for the over-fifties, was “not compliant” with Committee of Advertising Practice guidelines and said it “could be seen as objectifying the man and his physique”.
Tube bosses have been clamping down on inappropriate adverts, particularly those deemed to be “body-shaming”. But the founders of the Lumen app said their decision was “absurd”.
A toned-down Lumen advert is now on display at Euston station despite the more “risqué” version appearing at other sites around the capital. Billboards with the original image and tagline will appear across the country from next week.
Co-founder Charly Lester said: “This campaign is only meant to be a bit of fun. I didn’t think it would get banned, I thought it was funny. I don’t think it is rude — it is cheeky.
"Our app is all about anti-ageism, body confidence and being yourself, so to have this banned is a bit depressing. It’s ridiculous and absurd.”
Model Mr Orchard said: “I’m surprised these ads have been banned, especially when you consider the other images you regularly see on the Underground of younger people wearing much less than I am.
"We worked hard to ensure the photographs were tasteful as well as fun, and it’s a shame TfL don’t see it that way.”
Lumen was launched in the UK in September and is already attracting 3,000 new members a day.
Emails seen by the Standard reveal Exterion rejected the advert on the grounds of “social responsibility and potential offence.”
Lumen had to use another version with the model in a red three-piece suit with the tagline “Santa, Baby.”
Ms Lester suggested the “sensitivity” followed controversy over the Protein World advert in 2015 with a bikini-clad woman asking: “Are You Beach Body Ready?”
TfL said if an advert is deemed “not compliant” they work with advertisers to amend it.
Adverts that reinforce gender stereotypes, like men struggling with household tasks or women as bad drivers, will be banned from next June, it was confirmed today.bythe Committee of Advertising Practice.