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Note: Comedian Ed Gamble’s hot dog banned from tube ads

Some comics complain that their craft is threatened by “cancel culture.” For comedians on a sausage-themed stand-up tour, they may have a point, after Ed Gamble was forced to remove a photo of a hot dog from subway posters promoting his upcoming show because it violated the company’s advertising policy Transport for London for junk food.

The comic was depicted with the fast food item in an advertisement for his show Hot Diggity Dog. When the design was sent to TfL for display on the Underground, Gamble was told to alter the poster as it did not comply with the organisation’s advertising policy regarding the display of foods high in fat, sugar and and salinity.

The comedian swapped the hot dog for a cucumber to highlight the promotional material.

Gamble said: “I don’t actually have a problem with the TfL rules; they make sense to me. But the new posters promote something much more harmful: the idea that cucumbers go well with ketchup and mustard. I’m not sad that I have to get rid of the hot dog. It was only on the poster because I wanted to eat during the photo shoot.

“Hopefully it’s not too late to change the title of the show to Cu Diggity Cucumber?”

In a post on Instagram, he described the incident as a career highlight, adding: “TfL told me I couldn’t have a hotdog on my poster to promote my Hackney Empire shows in June. I think I’m dangerous? That’s why I replaced it with a cucumber. Eat your vegetables, kids!”

A TfL spokesperson said: “We welcome all advertising on our network that meets our published guidelines.

“After reviewing the advert, we advised that elements needed to be removed or hidden to ensure it complied with our policies.

“A revised ad is now running on the network and we are always happy to work with people to ensure ads follow our policies.”

The ban on junk food advertising on London’s public transport network came into effect in 2019.

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Regulations ban posters for food and drinks with high fat, salt and sugar content on the subway and above ground, as well as on buses and bus shelters.

A 2022 study led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that the ban had contributed to a 1,000 calorie reduction in unhealthy purchases in people’s weekly shopping. The largest impacts were seen for chocolate and confectionery, with a drop of almost 20%, or 317.9 calories, in average weekly household purchases of energy from these products.

The decrease equates to around 385 calories per person per week, equivalent to each Londoner in the study buying around 1.5 fewer standard size bars of milk chocolate each week.