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Glamorizing train track trespassing to teens and young adults

<p>Libby Rector Snipe</p>

Libby Rector Snipe, 10-07-2016

Categories: Bad Ads and Viral Videos

It’s the fall fashion season, and clothing retailers are busy targeting teens and young adults with new style trends. For some reason, though, a number of retailers seem to think their designs are easier to sell when the models are shown trespassing on railroad tracks.

While the use of track and trespass imagery for clothing sales isn’t new, it’s everywhere this fall: Hollister. Athleta. JC Penney's Arizona Jeans. And recently Nordstrom, Entourage and Volcom displays also featured dangerous behavior.

These images make it look fun and safe to be on the tracks. But statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration show that it’s not safe. Year after year, more teenagers and young adults are killed or injured while trespassing on the tracks than any other age group. Last year alone saw 302 deaths and injuries among 16-30 year olds.

Think young people know better than to be on the tracks? Take it from Mark Kalina, Jr.; they don’t. He lived to tell his story—and shares it with young adults as an Operation Lifesaver Authorized Volunteer—but too many don’t live. Or ask this mom, who lost her son when he thought playing chicken with a train was a game he could win.

Retailers and their ad agencies need to know that their images of “carefree” activities on the tracks encourage young people to trespass. Help Operation Lifesaver get them on the right side of this safety issue. And urge them to take a smarter – and more creative – approach to advertising to this impressionable age group.


@HollisterCo @Athleta @jcpenney - fashion pics with train track #trespassing are dangerous, not glamorous! http://bit.ly/2dQ8ANZ

Our latest blog post warns #fashion retailers against illegally posing models on train tracks – spread the word! http://bit.ly/2dQ8ANZ

Posing models on tracks for fashion shoots/displays sends the wrong #safety message @ShopEntourage @volcomwomens http://bit.ly/2dQ8ANZ

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