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"Squeezed in" subway ad angers passengers
February 15, 2008 / 4:10 PM / 10 years ago

"Squeezed in" subway ad angers passengers

<p>Passengers ask for water for their instant noodles inside a train stranded at a railway station due to snowfall in Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, January 28, 2008. REUTERS/Sean Yong</p>

BEIJING (Reuters) - An advertisement on Beijing’s subway proclaiming “Squeezed in?! Go and buy a car then!” has angered passengers who said it only encourages traffic jams, a state newspaper said Friday.

The advertisement, written in large white letters on a red background, is also contrary to the Beijing city government’s aim of getting more people to take public transport, the official Beijing Daily said.

“Isn’t this out of tune with environmental protection?” it quoted a subway passenger surnamed Yang as saying.

“The company sees subway passengers as potential customers, but the scornful tone of the advertising language exposes a lack of interest in human feelings behind a meticulous design,” a female passenger surnamed Liu added.

Some Internet users have come up with their own versions of the advertisement’s slogan, the newspaper said, proposing: “Stuck in a traffic jam? Then take the subway!.”

But the storm of criticism against the advert, which does not identify the company or organization behind it, may have just the effect the advertisers were looking for, the report added.

“If they only cared about getting eyeballs rather than the impact it would have on people and society, has it not been effective?” the newspaper quoted unnamed experts as saying.

Beijing is spending billions of dollars expanding and upgrading its subway network ahead of this year’s Olympic Games, and wants to encourage more people to take trains and buses to help deal with worsening road congestion.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Alex Richardson

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