The Seoul Metro said Monday it would get rid of plastic surgery advertisements plastered in subways by 2022 in response to more than 1,000 civil complaints filed against them last year alone.
|An advertisement for cosmetic surgery in the Korean subway|
“Subway advertising will drastically cut down on commercial ads and shift the paradigm by focusing on culture-art and public service,” the Seoul Metro said. “Although ads have served as a way to keep down subway fees, some have pointed out ‘advertisement pollution’ from a continual increase of advertisements.”
Many viewed cosmetic surgery ads in particular in a negative light for encouraging a discriminative view of the female body and a culture centered on looks, it added. “We have received an increasing number of civil complaints (regarding the ads) as gender issues have come to the spotlight starting in 2015,” the subway agency said.
According to the agency, 1,080 out of 1,182 civil complaints related to subway advertisements pertained to plastic surgery last year.
As part of the initiative, the Seoul Metro will first aim to reduce the number of ads to 120,000, or by 15 percent, from the current 142,785 ads found in metros. It will also work with the appropriate ad agencies to reduce the number of commercial ads and instead expand those related to culture and art, it said.
The agency also said it would create 10 stations that have no commercial advertisements starting this year and expand the number to 40 by 2022.
The first stations to have no commercial ads will be City Hall and Sinseol-dong from Line 1; Seongsu, Sinseol-dong, and Yangcheon-gu Office from Line 2; Gyeongbokgung, Anguk, and Euljiro 3-ga from Line 3; and Gimpo Int’l Airport and Sinjeong from Line 5.
Last year, Seoul’s eight subway lines had a total of 142,785 ads that generated 44.5 billion won ($40.8 million) in revenue, the agency said. Advertisements related to medicine and health accounted for 25.4 percent of the total, followed by education with 12.7 percent, public organizations with 11.4 percent, culture and art with 6.9 percent, and cosmetic surgery with 1.5 percent.
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