South Korea to ban plastic surgery ads in the capital’s metro by 2022
Move comes after an increasing number of complaints
By Ko Dong-hwan
Ads for clinics and hospitals providing plastic surgery will be banned from Seoul Metro stations by 2022.
The posters — which promote what many people believe are distorted images of how women should look — have attracted a growing number of complaints, the state company said. Complaints have been growing since 2015, when Koreans started to become more aware of gender issues.
Seoul Metro will ban its advertising agencies from buying such ads. It will also raise the screening level of its advertising disciplinary committee.
The latest measure reflects the company’s intent to replace the ads with ones about culture, the arts and public campaigns and to reduce the overall number of ads across Seoul metro stations by 15 per cent.
In 2016 alone, there were about 143,000 ads at stations on Line No.1 to 8, earning more than 44 billion won (US$40 million). Ads on Line No.1 to 4 drew 1,182 public complaints about their content. More than 91 per cent of the complaints were about plastic surgery providers or female subjects.
The company will gradually reduce the number of ads, extending contracts only for ones with particularly high sales value and dropping the rest. It will also work with Yujin Metro Communications, a private firm, to use more ads related to culture and art.
Seoul Metro will also make some stations ad-free. Starting with 10 stations this year, the number will increase to 40, including City Hall, Seongsu, Gyeongbokgung and Gimpo International Airport.