D.C. Metro Ad Says Women Care More About Shoes Than Train Reliability

Campaign touting progress takes big step backward

The D.C. Metro's newest ad campaign, dubbed "Metro Forward," took a giant step backward recently with a sexist print ad that suggests women would rather talk about shoes than public transport reliability. The not-so-subtle subtext, according to critics, is that women (specifically the Metro's riders) are too vapid to care about matters of import.

"The point of the ad is to get people talking about Metro's massive rebuilding effort by juxtaposing technical facts with a variety of light responses in conversation between friends," a Metro spokesperson tells DCist.com.

In a version of the campaign featuring two men, when asked whether he'd noticed some new hardware installed on the train, the guy's punch line is, "No, Billy, not so much." What, no mention of beer, power tools or watching some sports last night?

The sexism of the women-oriented ad is particularly egregious and laughable because it's so lazy. "Ladies and their shoes" is a punch line you'd hear on late-night TV 25 years ago, and it wasn't funny then, either. Luckily for us, this is one of those advertising blunders where the parodies will be much better executed because more thought will have been put into them than in the original.

adfreakdk@gmail.com David Kiefaber is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak.