Problematic Copenhagen Metro advert

I am sure many of you will have seen the recent adverts by DF (Danske Folkeparti) espousing their believed virtues of a homogenous Danish society. This, sadly, is something to expect from a right-wing political party however I was disappointed to see the Metro running an ad campaign that also falls into this category.

At Femøren Station there is a full platform ad campaign for the new Metro ring line. The tag line is Mere Metro, Mere Tid, Mere xxx (More Metro, more time and more (insert a theme). So far, so OK. But it is the images they have chosen to accompany the words that start to make the campaign problematic.

Take the first one. More metro, more time, more podcasts. A white young man listening to a podcast.

Next, More metro, more time, more study life. A group of white, young men, presumably students. In fact one of them is the podcast boy


Next up we have a woman but….more metro, more time, more family life (message women are defined as mothers).

Then more metro, more time, more focus. A white man giving a presentation.

Then in the final panel he is eating breakfast with the children ( same children from the only panel featuring a woman). More metro, more time, more hygge.

Clearly these photographs are not stock photos but deliberately shot for this campaign due to the consistency in the people. There is absolutely no diversity to these pictures or the message they give. The metro is used by everyone, not just white men and mothers; but people of colour, old people, people with disabilities as well. Not one of these groups of people are represented in this, obviously careful produced, campaign. Do these groups not benefit from extra time?  They don’t even need to be featured with a specific strapline for them, just some element of inclusion.

Equally women could be in every single image instead of a man. I am not suggesting that there should be no men in the adverts but women work, listen to podcasts and study not just living to feed their children carrots. Three students why not put one of the missing groups into that photo.

I am not someone who looks to be permanently offended but this campaign really pressed my buttons. We are in a time now in society where representation is even more important than is has ever been. People need to see themselves reflected back from public spaces to feel they have a position in those places. It is not about tokenism but actually reflecting the society in which we exist and not perpetuating outdated stereotypes.

Danish society is multicultural, full of people of all ages and gender roles, backgrounds and physical abilities. Perhaps next time such a prominent and public service campaign should reflect this.

I posted on Twitter below. They responded to say that there would be more adverts coming showing more diversity, which they did to a certain extent and still not as robustly as they could.

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