The ads were the latest in a racy series of promotions by Estrella, which also included visuals of a woman's legs with her shorts around her ankles. Many locals argued that the ads were objectifying to women, even by your typical advertising standards, and that they were insensitive to those affected by Miami's significant human trafficking problem.
New Times called attention to the ads in an essay last month. At the time, Miami-Dade Transit Director Alice Bravo told New Times the department outsourced its advertising and had little control over its content. But in the aftermath of public outcry about the ads, Miami-Dade Transit changed its tune:
“The Director further reviewed the ad and concluded that the ad was detrimental to the aims and reputation of Miami-Dade Transit," reads a statement from the department. "We are reviewing policies in place to minimize the likelihood that advertisements that are detrimental to the aims and reputation of Miami-Dade Transit are displayed. Miami-Dade Transit is and always has been committed to the community which it serves.”
Miami locals had already been voicing concerns about the ad on Facebook and Twitter when New Times' story ran. After its publication, those voices got louder. Hundreds hounded the Facebook review pages of Estrella Insurance and Imagen, the marketing agency allegedly responsible for the ad. Imagen did not respond to requests for comment to this story. Estrella Insurance declined to comment.
The Ring a Ding bulletin, a weekly email newsletter by locals Brian Hunker and Paola Mendez suggesting actions voters can take to make
It's a small victory, but one Mendez hopes will translate into a broader movement.
“We’re all a little shocked at how quickly this happened,” she says. “For other issues, we call for months. This seems like an anomaly, but I’m hoping it’s a trend.”