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Cars and Transportation

'Don't wear deodorant,' says Berlin's transport company

July 3, 2020

Masks are compulsory on public transport in Germany, but not everyone seems to understand how to wear them. Now Berlin's transport operator is taking aim at those who leave their noses exposed. Its weapon? Body odor.

A man wearing a mask on public transport
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Z. Scheurer

Berlin transport operator BVG is appealing to commuters to stop using deodorant to encourage people to wear their masks properly on public transport.

"Given that so many people think they can wear their masks under their noses, we're getting tough," the company declared in a bright yellow ad posted to social media.

Mouth and nose coverings are mandatory on public transport and in shops in Germany as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. People who flout the rules face steep fines. Still, it's not unusual to see people wearing masks incorrectly — usually by covering just the mouth, leaving their nose out in the open.

The BVG said it was hoping to harness the power of body odor, which can be especially potent on a packed underground train in summertime, to help offending mask-wearers change their ways. It suggested people forgo deodorant, adding cheekily: "So, now do you still want to have your nose out?"

The post has so far garnered more than 10,000 likes on Twitter and Facebook. The transport operator, which is known for its satirical advertising campaigns, made headlines last year after lodging a tongue-in-cheek application with UNESCO, arguing the German capital's transport network should be added to the World Heritage List.

Other slogans used by BVG read "It's fashion week again. We're glad when our passengers wear any garments at all" or "Not even your mummy will pick you up at 04:30 in the morning."

Taking aim at US President Donald Trump, one of its recruitment posters read: "Well, Donald, don't you want to become a bus driver instead? Think about it! You give the directions, you'll always have a reason to swear, you can rip people off, being overweight isn't an issue, neither are small hands and no-one expects you to be tactful."

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