By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York officials were red-faced on Friday after they discovered that clothing ads on city buses that appeared to promote reading suggested a love of books could be rewarded with oral sex.
The advertisements that ran on about 200 buses across the city in recent months carried posters displaying a suggestively posed woman in hot pants kneeling among a pile of books beside the snappy slogan "Read Books, Get Brain."
What unhip, unsuspecting local transportation officials did not know was that "get brain" is street slang for oral sex.
The ads -- from hip-hop clothing maker Akademiks, which intended the double-entendre -- was stripped off New York buses on Friday after transportation officials discovered the street slang meaning.
Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Tom Kelly condemned the "vulgar street phrases" in the racy ads he said were "demeaning women."
"To me and I believe to everyone else, while it was done by a clothing line, it would give the impression that it was also promoting reading and literacy," Kelly told Reuters.
"It's easy enough to understand how that would get by based upon someone not knowing the expression."
A spokesman for the New York-based clothing maker noted the ad campaign had run since September and "we hadn't had any complaints at all."
New York officials may not be the only ones caught out.
Akademiks also placed the ads on buses and bus shelters in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco and Philadelphia, the company spokesman said.
Kelly, who said he was his 60s, said that after he was tipped to the hidden meaning of the phrase on Thursday he ran a test among some young MTA workers.
"I went downstairs to the mailroom and showed some of the young guys a copy of the ad," he said. "I was watching their faces and they all start smirking.
"Apparently it's on all the music, in music that's how they refer to it," Kelly said. "I didn't know anything about it and I'm sure the people that approved the ad didn't."
Kelly said it was sad that "you can't take things at face value any longer," adding, "We'll have to learn from experience before we accept ads."
Let's start a debate. I believe the ads are talking about african women that does more sex and oral sex than any other women. It's sort of sexist and racist. What do you guys think?
Also, if you didn't get the oral sex part just replace brain with head and you'll get it.
Read book, get HEAD?