Scantily clad women part of 'serious' ad campaign, says Suffolk lorry boss

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image captionA lorry firm boss said he hired scantily clad women to hold billboards on a roadside advertising for drivers after having problems recruiting

A lorry firm boss who hired scantily clad women to stand at a roadside with billboards to recruit drivers said it has been a "serious" campaign.

Adam Giles, who runs BWN Driver Management Group agency in Felixstowe, Suffolk, hired the two women to advertise for new truck drivers.

"It's got the message out. I feel it has been great," said Mr Giles.

However, industry body Road Haulage Association (RHA) has criticised the move and said it was not "appropriate".

The women, wearing black outfits, stood at a roundabout near the A14 last week holding up placards saying "drivers wanted" and the firm's telephone number.

Mr Giles said he had come up with the idea after speaking to a local advertising company to try to address the lorry driver shortage and they put forward the women.

"We're heavily reliant on European drivers and we have been for some time - the rules have changed with Brexit, we've had Covid and a tax law called IR35, which has stopped bigger companies taking on limited company drivers, so times have changed," he said.

Mr Giles said he had tried other advertising methods but this has been "a serious marketing campaign - it's how you stand out from what other people are doing."

Not 'appropriate'

Mr Giles said he has received between 40-50 calls in response, with drivers from Liverpool and Ireland among those contacting him, but had also experienced some abusive messages.

However, Mr Giles said the women advertising his business: "Chose what to wear, they run their own business, they were more than happy, they're educated women."

But Kate Gibbs from the RHA said: "We don't think it is appropriate.

"We think the days of this way of selling are in the past and what was effective 15 years ago no longer works - it's called progress."

She added while women accounted for just 1% of the UK's lorry drivers, technological advancements meant it was not so much of a "heavy lifting" job making it a suitable career especially for mothers returning to the workplace.

"There is a driver shortage and it is men and women needed."

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