The campaign that has caused so much controversy over the last few months has been deemed not offensive by the ASA.
Back in April, Protein World launched a new protein shake advert that caused uproar with the public and the media.
The phrase “Are you Beach Body Ready?” caused people to take offense, feeling that the advert set an unrealistic expectation for the female body with the model they chose for the campaign, something that was seen as only achievable with extreme dieting and exercising.
The adverts were plagued with vandalism, stating that everybody was beach body ready and that ‘your body is not a commodity’.
A protest took place in Hyde Park; where over a thousand people stripped down to prove the point that you didn’t need to look like the model to be ‘ready’ for the summer. In their eyes every body is beach body ready.
Not only did this happen, but an online petition on Change.org gained over 70,000 signatures to ban the image, proving that many were against the offensive advert.
Richard Stavely, head of global marketing for Protein World, went on ITV’s Good Morning Britain back in April to set the record straight. He claimed that the aim of the advert was to ‘make the nation healthier’ and to promote a fitter lifestyle.
The company itself was relatively unknown until the adverts popped up on the Tube around London, earning them £1.5 million in the first four days alone.
The adverts were eventually taken down once their booked advertising period had ended, but the Advertising Standard Authority banned them from being used in that form again since receiving nearly 400 complaints.
Since then they have been investigating claims that the adverts were breaking offence rules and were socially irresponsible. They have now made their way over to New York where the reception wasn’t nearly as cold as over in the UK.
The ASA have ruled that the ads do not ‘cause serious or widespread offence’. Regarding the phrase ‘Beach Body Ready’ they have said that it promotes the public to think about whether they were in the shape they wanted to be in for summer.
Many are not happy with the verdict, claiming that it promotes eating disorders due to the unrealistic body expectations. Rebecca Field, a spokeswoman for eating disorders charity Beat was quoted to say in The Guardian,
We find the ruling from the ASA extremely disappointing…we are aware how toxic images can be to an individual.
This kind of advertising always causes a stir within the public due to setting high standards of unrealistic beauty that everybody feels they need to achieve. However, Protein World has marketed on this and gained thousands of new customers using their product. Like they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
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