Normally I don’t think I notice adverts. I try and ignore most of them, and I like to (naïvely) think that they don’t influence me much. But this particular poster stopped me in my tracks. It was impossible to miss, as I stepped out of the tube carriage, a giant (in hight) woman in a bikini, on a bright yellow background, practically smacked me in the face, to ask me: are you beach body ready? An advert for protein shakes. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry at a poster.
Well here’s my answer, I have a body, give me a beach, I’m beach body ready.
But let’s assume here, that by beach body, they meant do I look like the model in the advert. Well, just give me a minute to get some breast implants, remove a few ribs and chuck in a spot of liposuction for good measure. Then I might be close. It would probably be easier to walk around with a photoshopped cardboard cut out picture of myself covering my hideously normal body.
I’ve been on the beach quite a few times in my life, and it’s so strange, no one has ever come up to me as I got out of the water and said, “excuse me miss, please put your clothes back on an leave, you’re offending everyone here. Before you come back, do check the Protein World guide lines to see what the beauty norm is right now and make sure you comply”.
Come to think of it, I’ve never particularly noticed anyone give the slightest toss about what I, or anyone else looks like on the beach. Most of the time people seem too engrossed in “having fun” god forbid, to go around with a tape measures checking people’s waist lines.
All jokes aside, this advert worries me a lot. I am lucky that I am 26, and confident enough to not care that I don’t look like that model. I mean yes, if I could, there’s a few things I’d change about my body, but all in all I’m just grateful that it works, it gets me from A to B and it puts up with all the random sports I dare to though at it. I’m lucky that I’ve learnt that being healthy is more important than being thin.
So thanks Protein World, but no thanks. Your magic “fat melter capsules” (yep, that’s what they sell) won’t turn me into that model, and even if they would, I wouldn’t buy them. How boring would life be if we all looked the same.
What shocks me is that it’s 2015, and not only is this kind of advert aloud to exist, but it does exist. That means a significant number of people have let this happen. I want to know why not a single person was shocked enough to do something about it. I work in advertising, and I’d like to think that if a job like this came onto my desk I’d refuse to work on it, and if it’s a case of putting my job on the line, then it’s not an industry I want to work in. (I mean who hasn’t dreamt of storming out of their job in a dramatic way)
Thankfully I don’t seem to be the only one outraged by this ad. There has been an outcry on social media, #everybodysready is trending on Twitter, and over 70,000 people have signed a petition on change.org to have these ads removed.
My problem is it sends out a very bad message, it perpetrates the idea that there is only one body type that is acceptable and that the way to get that is by taking these capsules. What about exercising and eating a balanced diet?
This advert should be banned, and adverts like this should be illegal.
The kind of adverts I want to see more of are like the “This Girl Can” campaign that started a few months ago. It’s absolutely brilliant. The Protein World picture would be completely demoralising for someone who just wants to get fit. But This Girl Can perfectly illustrates the amazing feeling you get from doing a sport you love. Anyone starts a marathon from that first 10 minute run that feels like death. And unfortunately no one looks good when they’re running, but once you get use to that, you won’t even care.
Protein World, you might want to look away, I’m heading to the beach this weekend.