Transport for London has apologised for offence caused by an ad for taxi-hailing app Kapten that it said it approved "in error".
The execution was part of a campaign themed "Get me out of here" and showed a picture of a sinister-looking man paired with the copy: "When you recognise your blind date from the news… Get me out of here Kapten."
Campaign contacted TfL yesterday morning (Monday) after seeing a number of critical comments about the ad. Mollie Goodfellow tweeted a picture of the ad, commenting: "It’s funny because women might meet a murderer or rapist on a blind date and might need to escape to protect themselves."
TfL notified Campaign last night that it had decided to take the ad down, adding that Kapten had also contacted its advertising agent (Exterion Media) to ask for it to be taken down.
Kapten also apologised for any offence caused and its London general manager Mariusz Zabrocki told Campaign: "We received the first complaints on Friday and we started taking down this ad on the same day. TfL contacted us on Monday and we decided together to take it down everywhere in the TfL network immediately."
TfL provided the following statement: "This advertisement was approved in error and we apologise for any offence it has caused. We are working to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. The advertisement does not meet the requirements of our advertising policy and is being removed from across our transport network. Kapten have also said they will not use this poster in any future campaign."
The matter may have been escalated by Siân Berry, the Green Party London Assembly member, who replied to Goodfellow’s tweet yesterday morning with a promise to ask the mayor "how that happened".
"It literally jumps at you with offensiveness and there are supposed to be checks," Berry tweeted. "TfL themselves have good adverts on safe travel so how it was missed I don’t know. Grim."
Kapten hired creative PR agency Taylor Herring last month to promote the ride-hailing service in London after a competitive four-way pitch. PRWeek understands Taylor Herring was not involved in this poster campaign.
A version of this article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign