According to Blick, a mobile billboard for the site was seen outside the Technopark in Zurich, inviting hard-up students to register for its dating service and hook themselves a rich ‘sugar daddy’ or ‘sugar mummy’, terms generally used to refer to an older, wealthy person who can financially support a younger partner in exchange for sex.
“Hello students! Romance, passion, mentoring and a luxurious lifestyle. Date a Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama,” said the Zurich billboard photographed by a Blick reader outside Technopark, which groups together start-ups, research institutes and universities.
According to the RichMeetBeautiful website, the company is an ‘online social Sugar Dating network whose participants are ‘not afraid to define exactly what they want in a partner and relationship’.
The appearance of adverts for the site in Switzerland comes after it was banned from advertising in France and Belgium, with some saying it was a form of pimping.
After the site’s adverts first appeared outside the Sorbonne University in Paris in October, Paris deputy mayor Bruno Juillard called them “despicable”, while French ministers said the site was “a tool that encourages prostitution” and “close to pimping”.
Police seized the billboard and arrested the driver of the vehicle, while a student association lodged a criminal complaint for pimping.
The site also faced a backlash in Belgium where authorities seized billboards and launched an investigation.
Sigurd Vedal, who runs the site, said at the time it was a “classic misunderstanding”.
“We are like a normal dating site, but financial is part of the checklist,” he said.
In Zurich, locals to the Technopark told Blick the publicity van had been seen several times in the area in recent days.
“Of course it bothers us but as long as it stays in the street and doesn’t park, we can’t do anything about it,” a spokeswoman for Technopark told the paper.
“It’s totally tasteless,” said one student.