No joke: UK comedian told to remove hot dog from subway poster over junk food ban

A view of a poster advertising comedian Ed Gamble's Hot Diggity Dog tour on the Bakerloo line platform at Embankment underground station in London, Wednesday March 27, 2024. Gamble has been ordered to change a subway station poster campaign for his new standup show because the image of a hot dog violated the transit network’s ban on junk food advertising. The poster for the show, “Hot Diggity Dog,” showed a mustard- and ketchup-smeared Gamble beside a half-eaten hot dog on a plate. A bemused Gamble replaced the wiener with a cucumber, and the poster was approved. (Joe Sene/PA via AP)

A view of a poster advertising comedian Ed Gamble’s Hot Diggity Dog tour on the Bakerloo line platform at Embankment underground station in London, Wednesday March 27, 2024. Gamble has been ordered to change a subway station poster campaign for his new standup show because the image of a hot dog violated the transit network’s ban on junk food advertising. The poster for the show, “Hot Diggity Dog,” showed a mustard- and ketchup-smeared Gamble beside a half-eaten hot dog on a plate. A bemused Gamble replaced the wiener with a cucumber, and the poster was approved. (Joe Sene/PA via AP)

LONDON (AP) — On the London Underground, hot dogs are no joking matter.

Comedian Ed Gamble has been ordered to change a subway station poster campaign for his new standup show because the image of a hot dog violated the transit network’s ban on junk food advertising.

The poster for the show, “Hot Diggity Dog,” showed a mustard- and ketchup-smeared Gamble beside a half-eaten hot dog on a plate.

A bemused Gamble replaced the wiener with a cucumber, and the poster was approved.

Gamble, who is diabetic and co-hosts the “Off Menu” food podcast, said he could see the point of the ad rules, which are intended to help curb obesity in children.

“But the new posters promote something way more harmful — the idea that cucumbers pair well with ketchup and mustard,” he said.

Gamble isn’t complaining about the extra publicity the case has generated.

“The posters are making way beyond their value now,” he told the BBC on Thursday.

Since 2019, Transport for London has banned ads for foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt from the city’s subway trains and stations, buses and bus shelters. It also bars advertisements that promote unhealthy or unrealistic body shapes.

“Following a review of the advert, we advised that elements would need to be removed or obscured to ensure it complied with our policy,” the transit operator said. “A revised advert is now running on the network and we are always happy to work with people to ensure adverts follow our policy.”

Last year a poster for the play “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” featuring a large wedding cake fell foul of the rules. TFL ordered the cake to be cut from the ad.

The ad policy has attracted the ire of Britain’s tabloid press, with The Sun slamming “killjoy TFL bosses.”

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