After receiving more than 360 complaints and following a petition from Change.org that saw almost 60,000 voice their protest at the Protein World ad, London Transport has begun to remove the offensive ads from their Tube stations.
However, the removal of the ads came at the suggestion by the UK advertising watchdog who labelled the advertising campaign concerning for “health reasons”. After the ASA met with Protein World to discuss the campaign, it was deemed that the poster would not be able to reappear again “in it’s current form”.
Whilst Transport for London said the ads were being removed because “they have come to the natural end of their contract”, women and men around the UK will breathe a sigh of relief, when the offensive campaign is no longer part of their daily commute.
The campaign to admonish the Protein World brand sparked controversy after a spokesperson for the brand took to twitter to ‘reply’ to those questioning the company’s strategy.
— Protein World (@ProteinWorld) April 24, 2015
The controversial ad campaign featured a model in a bikini that asks “Are you bikini ready?”. The question also provided a fantastic public forum for those protesting the campaign to ask questions of the company too.
London Bloggers, Fiona Longmuir and Tara Costello took to social media to voice their disgust at the relentless body shaming experienced by women across the world by advertising agencies.
‘In my mind, getting beach body ready would involve slathering myself in sunscreen,” Longmuir wrote on her blog.
“I am so tired of the message that women have to make some kind of effort in order to be socially acceptable. Is this kind of guilt tripping and body shaming really the best way to shift your products?”
— Fiona Longmuir (@EscapologistGl) April 23, 2015
More women have taken pen to paper to lambast the campaign, eliciting a less than positive response from the company’s CEO Arjun Seth.
Seth told UK media that the people complaining about the adverts were “terrorists” and a minority, adding, “they shout a lot, these people are irrational and extremist”.
Defending the campaign as “aspirational”, Seth also said that the ‘hate campaign’ was good for business, enraging protesters further.
A spokesperson for ASA stated that they have begun an investigation, into whether the ads breach the UK code relating to taste, decency, harm and offence.
To cement the issue, protesters have also organised a “Take Back The Beach” initiative that will begin in Hyde Park
The Facebook page for Saturday’s demonstration reads: “Do you look like the model on the poster? Awesome, step this way, gorgeous! Are you a size 24? Come on down, beautiful!! Are you a guy? Get those swimming shorts out”.
“Perhaps not everyone’s priority is having a ‘beach body’ (by the way, what is that?), and making somebody feel guilty for not prioritising it by questioning their personal choices is a step too far.”
“A body’s function is far more intricate and important than looking ‘beach ready’, so in fact it is Protein World who have confused their priorities, if anyone”.
What do you think? Does this campaign push a social agenda of body shaming? Or is it acceptable for fitness products to sell their products in this way?