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Vivastreet ‘sex ads’ pulled from Salford taxis after charity outcry

Salford City Council has vowed to remove adverts from Salford taxis which appear to offer sex for sale.

The ads, for classified website Vivastreet.co.uk, show three pouting young women with the slogan “A little bit of…” listing female names, in an apparent parody of Lou Bega’s 1999 chart hit ‘Mambo Number 5’.

SalfordOnline.com was alerted to the issue by national charity Object, which campaigns against women being portrayed as sex objects.

Chief Executive Rox Hardie explained: “This came about because somebody shared the images on Twitter from Birmingham bus shelters then subsequently somebody shared the images from Salford taxis.

“We believe these are a breach of the Advertisers’ Code on the portrayal of women.

“It is unacceptable for a public display of adverts which essentially are condoning the sale of women.”

Object has now lodged a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority over the nationwide ads.

She added: “The Twitter feed of the company is clear which market they are targeting, encouraging escort services to sign up, containing links to their blog about being ‘hooked on punting’ and complaining about Twitter’s reported plans to restrict pornography on its feeds.”

The colourful notices have been spotted emblazoned across bus shelters and both inside and across the outside of taxis in Salford and Eccles.

Salford City Council policy clearly states that: “[Taxi] advertising will be not permitted to publicise…escort agencies, massage parlours or services, licensed sex establishments or similar businesses.”

It’s thought individual drivers have been approached by a Liverpool-based ad agency, rather than going through the council’s licencing service.

The council agreed that the ads were offensive, and said a full investigation was now underway.

A spokesperson for Salford City Council said: “This advert has been applied to a taxi without authorisation from Salford City Council.

“We have never received an application from Viva Street to advertise on taxis licensed by Salford City Council and would not have given approval for this particular advert.

“We will ensure this is removed promptly and thank members of the public for drawing it to our attention.”

The council added that its Licencing department would work to remove any similar Vivastreet adverts from taxis as and when they are reported.

Vivastreet.co.uk were repeatedly approached for comment but could not be reached.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.