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Bus stop advert – for women only


Emma Caddow
WVoN co-editor 

An interactive advertisment on a bus stop in London’s busy Oxford Street has been designed so it can only be watched by women.

The advert, which is being trialled for two weeks on a bus stop in front of Selfridges department store, is part of the children’s charity Plan UK‘s Because I am a Girl campaign, and is said to have cost £30,000.

The advert’s interface has an in-built HD camera which identifies the viewer’s facial features, then measures the distances between their eyes, the curve of their cheekbone and jaw, and the width of their nose.

Using facial recognition software, it is then able to determine whether the viewer is male or female.

The software is thought to be 90 per cent accurate.

If a man stands in front of the ad, he will only see the charity’s website appear.

However, if a woman stands in front of the interface, she’ll be able to watch the 40 second advert which follows the lives of three 13-year-old girls in the UK, Mali and Thailand.

The advert has stirred reactions on a number of blog sites because it is only available to women. The charity explained that:

“Men and boys are denied the choice to view the full content in order to highlight the fact that women and girls across the world are denied choices and opportunities on a daily basis due to poverty and discrimination.”

The three girls who appear in the advert talk about their hopes and dreams for their future, interspersed with footage following their everyday lives.

Plan UK says the advert highlights the choices that many girls in developing countries are denied.

Plan UK CEO, Marie Staunton, said of the campaign:

“Millions of girls across the globe are being denied the right and choice to have an education.

“This ad is a deliberate attempt to raise public debate on this issue.

“Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign works with women and men, girls and boys, to challenge the discrimination that girls face as a result of their sex.

“We work to challenge negative stereotypes.

“Although we’re not giving men and boys the choice to see the full ad on this occasion – so we get a glimpse of what it’s like to have basic choices taken away – boys and men play a vital role in helping girls to be all they can be.

“Men and boys are also invited to join ‘the Plan’ to give girls choices.

“We look forward to hearing the public’s thoughts at #choicesforgirls” added Ms Staunton.

To find out more and see the film in full, visit

  1. vicki wharton says:

    Great idea to actively show how discrimination works using technology … will be interested to see how this gets picked up by the media?

    • Interesting article. Following on from Vicki’s comment there are lots of examples of discrimination in technology. MPEG2 which is the file format used for DVD renders light faces better than it does dark ones. Video cameras are set up with a biais towards filming light faces.

  2. Unfortunately I think the Ad campaign will alienate men.

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