MTA officials in New York City are in an uproar over the recent ad campaign by urban clothing line Akademiks in which subliminally sexual slang was used. Officials who agreed to run the ad on hundreds of city buses weren’t familiar with the terminology until angry citizens voiced their concerns.
The scandalous advertisement says “Read Books, Get Brain.” MTA officials were unaware that “brain” is youth slang for oral sex. The term is widely used in hip-hop songs featuring popular artists.
“It’s coded language, city slang. Teens know what it means but the general public doesn’t,” Anthony Harrison, designer for the Akademiks ad campaign, told the Associated Press.
This was most upsetting to MTA officials, who promised they would have never agreed to the ads being placed on the bus had they known what it meant. Officials have already vowed to start stripping the ads from buses, and have publicly condemned Akademiks for their dishonesty.
Not surprisingly, many young people also find the ads to be tasteless and offensive. The majority of the ads show men who are fully clothed wearing sweaters, button-down shirts and baggy jeans. However, none of the women in the ads are even fully clothed. At best, one model is dressed in a very tight sweater and “hot pants.”
“I don’t understand how any young women could find this ad appealing,” said Bianca Baldridge, 21, referring to the ad in which a woman in her underwear holds an open book. The model is not reading. “This not only offends the general public, I think it degrades the very audience they’re trying to target.”
The ad has been running since September in New York City as well as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Detroit.