My feathers have been well and truly ruffled this week. Who knew I’d have not one…but two body-shaming posts in a week? Following on from my post the other day, I’ve been further riled by a health and fitness brand publicly body-shaming on twitter. I know naming and shaming them will probably drive traffic to their site but I don’t really care. It’s your choice whether you decide to give your money to them or not. Personally, after seeing their unprofessional and disgusting behaviour, I will be taking my money elsewhere; to a health and fitness brand that doesn’t promote body-shaming.
As you probably know Protein World posted an Ad campaign that angered quite a lot of people. The ad showed a slender model (Renee Somerfield, in fact) with the words ‘Are you beach body ready yet?’ to promote their slender range. When passerbys saw this, quite a lot of them read the message as implied other body types weren’t beach body ready. The amazing Fiona and Tara responded to this Ad with this powerful photo. A lovely reminder that you can beach body ready whenever you want. I probably wouldn’t have to guts to stand in the underground in just a bikini so a massive round of applause for them. Their body confidence is inspiring, to say the least. I strongly urge you go read both Tara and Fiona’s posts about their campaign. Their posts oozes body confidence. I feel more confident about myself just reading them!
Personally, I was on the fence about the advert. I had no strong feelings regarding it either way. Maybe this is because I’ve studied marketing or maybe I’ve become so desensitised to the shock factor because I’ve seen similar ‘motivational’ photos. I don’t know why but I feel their marketing angle was okay. It wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t mind-blowing or inspiring. It was just okay. I imagine it would have been aimed predominantly at people who are unhappy with their current figure and are wanting to lose weight in time for summer. It’s a path many marketers go down. But for some reason, Protein World got it very wrong. They upset many people with their advert. This may be due to the rather large, intrusive and ‘in-your-face’ style of the poster. Also, with little wording to accompany the obtrusive question (written in a bold, harsh typeface), slender model and product placement, it’s quite a cut-throat marketing tactic.
Bulk Powders have recently done a similar campaign, which featured a toned model stepping of the Tube totally starkers. The difference is Bulk Powders ad campaign didn’t fuel a large amount of hate. My guess is because Bulk Powders accompanied their campaign with this positive message:
Everyone is an athlete, provided they have the right state of mind. It’s not a matter of your body shape, your medical history, your age. None of that matters. Only the future and the goals you set yourself.
REVEAL YOURSELF is not about exhibitionism, pride or beauty. It’s an expression of confidence, determination to be the best you can be and gratitude that you still have the chance.”
A far more subtle and inspiring message. One that motivates you to get on board and be body-confident. Gosh, this advert makes me want to strip off naked, embrace my beautiful body and strut my stuff down the high street. The Bulk Powders advert even makes me want to click on their website to see their products without having to explicitly tell me that I’m not beach body ready (ahem *cough* Protein World). Next time Protein World decide to do a campaign they should get in touch with Bulk Powders marketing team for some words of advice.
However, I’m not hear to talk about the ad. I’m here to talk about their online responses to the backlash. This is the reason why I will not be purchasing anything from Protein World. They had no level of tact or decorum, and maybe you even argue humanity. So, let’s take a little look at their twitter. For a ‘health’ brand there is nothing healthy about their twitter, that’s the truth. One person signed a petition to get the Protein World campaign removed and accompanied this with a tweet stating that she has spent her life believing she isn’t good enough. Did Protein World respond with an apology for creating an ad campaign that incidentally caused women to feel severely unhappy about their own body. Nope. Instead they asked ‘why make your insecurities our problem’ with a cheeky wink emoji, of course. My jaw hit the floor when I saw this. This is not the kind of response I would expect for a health and fitness brand. If anything they should promote body-loving and encouraging potential customers to feel happy in their own skin. What a disgusting, low-level social media tactic.
Well…their next response made my jaw metaphorically go crashing through the ground. They then asked ‘…it’s ok to be fat and out of shape instead of healthy? We are a nation of sympathisers for fatties…’ Honestly, I was truly and utterly disgusted by this. This is severe body-shaming and it’s a negative mind set for anyone to have. Especially, for a brand that supposedly promotes health and fitness. I imagine a lot of people who are interested in purchasing weight-loss supplements may be these apparent ‘fatties’ that the rest of us sympathise for. Well, I certainly hope that these ‘fatties’ take their money elsewhere; to a brand that isn’t going to verbally attack them or make them feel insecure about their own body. Oh and the CEO of the company even got involved to say that it seemed the girl had ‘a lot of issues well before she saw the PW ad’. Wow, with a CEO like that it’s no surprise that the brand is so unprofessional. You’d expect a brand that is so concerned about health would possibly also have a smidgen of concern for mental health.
If their own offensive body-shaming tweets weren’t bag enough, they also encouraged their customers’ bodyshaming. They retweeted and favourite numerous negative tweets such as one girl telling people to ‘stop crying and go back to eating cakes’ or a tweet that suggested a strong female power-lifter wouldn’t make a good advert. Damn, if I saw an advert that showed a woman deadlifting a ridiculous amount of weight to promote their protein powders, I’d be straight to their website. A strong female power-lifter can be just as motivational and inspiring as a toned, lean model. Though, it appears the ‘health and fitness’ brand also wants to mock power-lifters…how ironic considering that they also sell a strength range too. Though, I imagine most credible athletes would use more reputable, long-standing brands.
If you still want to take your money to a brand that has no respect for health (be it physical or mental), is poorly educated and publicly shames and attacks peoples, then it sounds like Protein World is the perfect brand for you. However, I will be sticking with My Protein and Bulk Powders. The slender blend range, offered by Protein World, just includes a diet whey protein powder, multi vits and fat burning capsules for £62. Products that you can get at a higher quality and better price from a far more respectable brand. Bulk Powders offer a weight-loss collection for £60, which includes: protein powder, vitamin b tablets, green tea tablets, thermogenic (fat burning) capsules and a blender bottle. This is so much better value for money and the products are scientifically better for weight-loss than those offered by Protein World. Oh and My Protein offer a weight-loss bundle that is usually £52 but is currently a ridiculous £26.12. This includes: diet whey protein powder, thermogenic capsules, omega 3, CLAs, vitamins and a blender bottle. As for nutrition advice and work-out plans, head to bodybuilding.com for all the knowledge you need. Seriously, you’d be a fool to purchase from Protein World when these other amazing, well-informed, helpful and higher quality brands exist.
I’m a girl who is dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle and spends most mornings in the gym. But I am also a girl who strongly disagrees with the recent behaviour of this company. So yes, it is possible to be a fitness-fanatic and still show some human qualities. Honestly, there are so many better brands out their. Ones that are actually professional and supportive of their customers. It’s apparent that this brand only care about one thing, and that’s getting your money. Oh, and they don’t care who they offend along the way.