Three reasons why *those* Protein World adverts ruffled my feathers

Earlier this week I cheerfully skipped onto the tube. Not because I was on my way home from work, but because I’d read that Protein World‘s contract with Transport for London had come to an end.

In essence, no more sexist ‘Are you beach ready?’ adverts to ruin my commute. Hallelujah!

With research claiming that more than 60% of women felt ashamed when comparing themselves to the bikini-clad model, it’s no surprise that protests were launched off the back of this weight-loss brand’s messaging.

But, did the extra exposure work in Protein World’s favour?

The social media scandal earned the company mentions, albeit largely negative, in The Daily TelegraphThe IndependentThe Daily Mirror and The Daily Mail (cue a sexy reality TV star’s opinion to make this story really newsworthy). In addition to this, it’s been the butt of reactive femvertising tactics from ‘wholesome’ beauty brand Dove

Dove hits back at Protein World

But, are we simply giving the Protein World a platform? Personally, I’m not offended by the adverts themselves. But, it has ruffled my feathers in three ways.

Where are the men?

I’m offended by the fact that the company has, so far, failed to balance their advertising with male models.

Why are just women being asked if they’re beach ready? 

Perhaps after working, looking after children, cooking, cleaning and generally being amazing, we’ll consider getting ‘beach ready’. 

But, thanks for bringing up our flaws – you’re on our Christmas card list for that smart remark!

If you’re investing in advertising, you need to spend on PR too

When the going gets tough, brands need to make a decision whether they stay silent or wade into ‘heated’ conversations. 

Protein World decided on the latter – a perfectly sensible choice given the circumstances – until it allowed its chief executive to be quoted labelling protestors as ‘terrorists‘.

Instead of diplomatically acknowledging the situation and taking some responsibility for sparking a debate, Protein World turned on its critics. Either the chief executive is a loose cannon who needs to be reined in by his PR team pronto, or it’s simply on the defensive.

Either way, its approach makes many enemies and little sense. 

You’re not even sorry  

A quick check on Twitter and I can see, not only has Protein World failed to apologise, but it’s actually going out of its way to silence its critics with sarcasm. No amount of emoji can cover up for the fact that it told a potential customer to ‘calm down’.

Protein World's poor customer service

It’s rude, obnoxious and helps to develop a reputation which sticks. 

Thanks to its PR fails, hopefully Protein World, which appeared out of nowhere, will disappear as quickly as it came along – and no one will be upset to see the back of it.

For now, women everywhere who are committed to getting into shape for the summer are determined to do it the old fashioned way.

What did you make of the adverts?

The offensive advertising

2 comments on “Three reasons why *those* Protein World adverts ruffled my feathers

  1. Awesome. They have already made 1 million. It’s about time brands don’t take themselves so seriously, especially to sanctimonious women who LIVE for reading sh*tty women mags, obsessing over Kate Middleton’s clothes and generally making us women look like nutjobs with a chip on their shoulder.

    As a feminist, I am more concerned with what is happening to working class women in DA relationships and 10 year old girls giving birth in Uraguay.

    Sigh. First world problems.

    And why should they apologise? Who are YOU? The Thought Police!!??

  2. I hope the next ad is even more provocative. It’s great to see a company that doesn’t automatically apologize when someone adds context to a 5 word poster and gets offended. The world needs more companies like this.

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