JCDecaux Israel Pulls Ad That Allegedly Insulted Overweight Children

The local branch of the French-based outdoor advertising firm had used a distorted photo of an overweight child.

JCDecaux Israel said Thursday it was ending its outdoor advertising campaign against childhood obesity that purportedly ridiculed overweight children.

The campaign is taking place in the center of the country. According to the new ads to replace the old ones, “now that the posters have come down, it remains in your hands alone.”

The initial advertising included a boy’s face that had been distorted to look particularly fat. The caption read: “When your child becomes overweight, his smile is small.”

MK Orly Levy-Abekasis (Yisrael Beiteinu), who heads the Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child, said the campaign humiliated children instead of helping them.

“The certain result of the campaign is another generation of children who have a hard time accepting themselves, a generation of children who feel hurt and diminished, and certainly not healthier,” she said.

The campaign was part of an annual competition that JCDecaux organized among advertising agencies.

“We give agencies total freedom to express themselves,” the company said. “Taking into account the emotional baggage of this problem ... we understand that the content of some of the work has generated widespread social debate, and that’s the aim of the campaign — to find solutions.”

David Bachar