Are you Beach Body Ready??
Following on from Protein Worlds controversial Tube campaign and the subsequent banning of body shaming posters by our new Mayor. We look into whether this kind of campaign is good or bad.
Adverts which put Londoners under pressure over body image are to be banned from the Tube and bus network.
Sadiq Khan announced that Transport for London would no longer run ads which could cause body confidence issues, particularly among young people.
The Mayor, a father of two teenage daughters, warned the ads could “demean” women and encourage them to conform to unrealistic or unhealthy body shapes. TfL’s new advertising policy, which does not include all images of people in their underwear or swimming gear, is only expected to affect a handful of the 12,000 adverts a year which run across the network, including at bus shelters and on-street sites.
It means controversial adverts like Protein World’s “Are you beach body ready?” poster, which provoked a huge backlash when it appeared last year, would no longer be allowed.
The weight-loss ad, which featured a bikini-clad model, sparked a protest in Hyde Park as well as a petition on Change.org with more than 70,000 signatures, although it was NOT banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Mr Khan said: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end. Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the Tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”
This campaign created widespread opinion on both sides of the debate with the anger bringing a massive upturn in advertising and indirectly therefore, sales for Protein World. In the fitness industry certain Fitness catchphrases are used as they create a quick and easily identifiable call to action. You only need to type beach body ready plan into Google to find 8 million results. The phrase provides the audience with a strong idea of a fitness related goal whether you NEED to be in the kind of shape this poster displays to step foot on the beach is irrelevant. It brings about the same ideas to the consumer as ‘NEW YEAR NEW ME’.
As a personal trainer in my experience these are the kind of phrases that we hear on a daily basis. Words like- shredded, toned, ripped and beach ready are results we are expected to produce on a daily basis. It is only natural then that the fitness industry will start to sell using these key words to generate interest in business.
The most interesting thing for me is the widespread condemnation of the female on the poster. She is without question in very good physical condition and it is obvious she has trained hard to achieve her body. But she is not emancipated or skinny, like say a catwalk model of the past 10 years. In my eyes, as somebody who views physical fitness as a key pillar in everybody’s lives, I do not see this figure as being particularly unattainable. It would obviously require hard work and commitment. But since when have these qualities been detrimental to anybody? It is interesting to see that this advert, featuring a male model, received very little coverage. Why is that? Why is it ok for supplement companies to advertise with a photo of a naked man as opposed to a female in a bikini.
We currently live in a country that is consuming more food than ever before and is doing less exercise then ever before. The rise in childhood obesity is staggering. Following on from the success of people like Joe Wicks, we, as fitness professionals, need to be doing more than ever before to change the countries perception of exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps this advert made people feel a certain way and promoted negative connotations about body image. But I feel that they were just using pre existing industry terms to create an easily associated sales pitch to a country that regularly searches for these key words.
We would love to know your opinion on this so leave a comment on our Facebook page.