Controversial ‘Beach Body’ ad banned after hundreds of complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Protein World’s ‘Beach Body’ campaign due to concerns over “health and weight loss claims made in the ad” after receiving hundreds of complaints.



A spokesperson from the ASA said the authority met with Protein World to discuss the “Are you beach body ready?” campaign following negative reactions to the ad, which appeared throughout the London Underground last week showcasing a woman in a bikini alongside the words “Are You Beach Body Ready?”.

“It’s coming down in the next three days and, due to our concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims made in the ad, it can’t appear again in its current form,” the ASA said.

As of Monday the ASA had received 216 complaints about the ad from the fitness and sports nutrition brand, while a separate petition calling for the ad to be removed had received over 40,000 signatures.

Negative reactions to the campaign have been numerous, with commuters defacing many of the ads and taking to social media with the hash tag #EachBodysReady to express their anger.

On Monday, an ASA spokesperson told Marketing Week: “The complaints generally found that the ad is offensive, irresponsible and harmful because it promotes an unhealthy body image.”

However, today the ASA stated: “Although the ad won’t appear in the meantime, we’ve launched an investigation to establish if it breaks harm and offence rules or is socially irresponsible. We will now carefully and objectively explore the complaints that have prompted concerns around body confidence and promptly publish our findings.”

In response to negative tweets about the campaign, Protein World CEO Arjun Seth wrote that “sales have tripled and the PR department just got their bonus”, while the brand has defiantly re-tweeted numerous offensive tweets about its body image.

Seth told Channel 4 that the adverts are “aspirational” and that he would only take notice if the petition were to reach 1,000,000 signatures.

He added that the people destroying the brand’s ads are “terrorists” performing criminal actions, while Protein World tweeted: “This is not feminism, it is extremism.”