A mattress brand has been fined VND137 million ($6,000) for running an “inappropriate” ad campaign featuring young, shirtless men on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line.
The Hanoi Department of Culture and Sports said Tuesday that it issued a decision to fine the owner of the Vua Nem brand for three reasons: the advertisement was not aesthetically pleasing and was contrary to Vietnamese customs and traditions; the brand had yet to notify the competent state agency about advertising content and format or the product it was promoting, the number of participants in the ad and the time and implementation schedule; and the advertisement affected “urban beauty, traffic order, and safety.”
A group of shirtless men wearing Santa Clause pants on the Cat Linh – Ha Dong metro line, December 2021. Photo by Vua Nem
Vua Nem (Mattress King) has admitted to the violations and complied with the decision, it has been reported.
On the morning of Dec. 11, a photo of a group of 10 young, shirtless men inside a train on the newly-opened Cat Linh – Ha Linh metro with a banner advertising Vua Nem products went viral on social media.
Vu Hong Truong, CEO of the Hanoi Metro Co. Ltd., said the men rode the metro together with other passengers, wearing Santa Clause costumes. After entering the train, they took shirts off and posed topless for photographs, holding a banner advertising Vua Nem products.
Security personnel requested the men to get off the train at the next station, saying they were dressed inappropriately.
Truong said their behavior was “offensive” and violated rules on riding the metro, but the company had no authority to deal with the offenders, apart from not allowing them to ride the train.
The first metro line in Hanoi and Vietnam, the Cat Linh – Ha Dong, opened to traffic on Nov. 6 after 10 years of construction and several delays.
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