Dec 15, 2023

Jesus and Strip Clubs: Prague Tram Ads Stir Controversy

The city government is asking residents for their views on the matter.

Recent advertising images featuring the image of Jesus Christ plastered on the side of Prague trams have caught the attention of none other than the deputy mayor of the Czech capital, Zdenek Hřib.

The local politicians also found it strange and troubling that public transport should be used to advertise controversial things, like a strip club.

Should there be trams running through Prague that will entice people to go to an erotic club? And is it okay for the tram to function as a recruitment campaign for religious organizations?” asked the deputy mayor, who is also responsible for the transport portfolio, on X (formerly Twitter).

According to Czech media reports, however, the public transit operator itself is not responsible because it has contracted its advertising space to a company, which then leases it to clients that want to place their ads.

Furthermore, Marek Hlavica, executive director of the Advertising Council (RPR) said that since the image of Jesus was used by a religious organization – the Czech Apostolic Church urging for conversion – this did not contravene any ethical standards.

An advertisement for yoghurt with Jesus and the slogan that it tastes like God, we would have identified that as a problem,” points out Hlavica, as quoted by iDnes.cz.

Zdeněk Hřib, however, believes that the way things stand the rules are full of loopholes and do not have a proper standard for appropriateness, as evidenced by the fact that trams can now be religious platforms or sell sex.

The deputy mayor wants the city to establish a code that regulates commercial advertising in the capital’s public spaces.

In fact, Prague already has a recent history of dealing with what they call “advertising pollution” in public spaces. This involves the removal of large billboards with a good example being the renovated Jiřího z Poděbrad station, which is now free of ads. The aim is to also gather the opinion of residents on whether they would like to have such ad-free spaces in the future.

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