01.05.15
Health & wellbeing

Beach body ready? Not me !

Child in a swimming pool

This week’s body shaming outrage has been caused by weight loss product retailer, Protein World with its latest advert which poses the question ‘Are you beach body ready?’ alongside the image of a (skinny) bikini-clad model. Plastered over the tubes in London, it has angered many and been the subject of both media and public debate with a ‘taking back the beach’ protest planned for London’s Hyde Park this Saturday.

Thousands have signed an online petition for the advert to be removed and the Advertising Standards Authority has stated that it has received over 250 complaints, mainly about the irresponsible nature of the advert which is considered, by the majority of complainants, to promote an unhealthy body image.

Unsurprisingly, the infamous social commentator, Katie Hopkins has waded in to the debate / almighty row, branding critics of the ad campaign ‘chubsters’ and suggesting the adverts should be positioned ‘at the top of stairs and steep hills’, presumably to give those who wish to vandalise them a bit of exercise.

All of this, of course, adds up to one humongous win for Protein World – it’s been something of a PR masterstroke as far more people are now aware of its campaign and its products than the intended target audience.

The backlash has, in fact, served the company very well and given a stage to its head of marketing, Richard Staveley, who said earlier this week: “We want to encourage discussion on this. Ultimately we want to encourage a healthier, fitter nation. We want to encourage everybody to be the very best version of themselves…”

This, for me, is the reprehensible part and offends far more than the actual ad. Protein World is promoting and selling weight-loss formulas, protein shakes and so called ‘fat melter’ capsules. How is this encouraging a healthier, fitter nation?

If you want to encourage people to be ‘the very best version of themselves’ then encourage them to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to become more active…

…Oh and, incidentally, getting healthy is not a summer fad. It’s an all year, all the time initiative ie. It’s for everyone, every day. It is definitely not healthy to crash diet for the sake of a couple of weeks lying on a beach, which is essentially what getting ‘beach body ready’ really means.

It’s just a real shame we’ve collectively given Protein World so much oxygen to continue peddling this nonsense.