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July 3, 2011

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Male takes over taxi ad

A male fitness instructor will replace the controversial female instructor, who triggered hot discussion among local taxi passengers, to star in a touch-screen workout video airing in thousands of city cabs.

Shanghai-based in-cab advertising company Touchmedia yesterday unveiled a new workout video featuring an eye-catching male instructor demonstrating shoulder exercises.

Screened on the backseats of taxis this month, the one-minute video is part of the company's Mr and Miss WOW fitness campaign to encourage passengers to do some mild exercises during their cab journeys.

The first in-cab video showed a heavily made-up 1980s-style woman blinking and swinging her pigtails while demonstrating neck-stretching exercises. However, the video clip soon raised complaints from some taxi passengers, with many saying the woman's exaggerated facial expressions were annoying.

Later, Nancy Pon, general manager of Touchevents, a subsidiary of Touchmedia, was reported to be the heroine of the video.

"I hope the video can help people make their health a top priority, carry on exercises and lead a healthy life," Pon said yesterday.

The new video hit the road on Friday and the in-taxi workouts planned for August will feature wrist exercises. All of the exercises are professionally designed for white-collar workers suffering great work pressure, Touchmedia officials said.

The first video had been uploaded and viewed online more than 765,000 times by the end of last month, according to Touchmedia. Netizens tracked down Pon online and made her a celebrity.

The new male instructor has already drawn much attention as pictures of him sporting a beard, headband and sunglasses have appeared on a microblogging site.

Despite public curiosity, the company decided to "keep the man's identity a secret," saying it hopes the public could focus more on the video instead of the instructor.


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