Protein World, a diet shakes and supplements company that saw its ad campaign spark a protest and get banned by the UK advertising watchdog, has brought its “Are You Beach Body Ready?” campaign to the US.
The defiant brand has erected a huge billboard in Times Square. In addition, digital outdoor ads are planned for every New York subway station and there will be posters on around 50% of subway trains, Adweek reports.
Critics accused the UK ad being “sexist” and “fat-shaming” for promoting an unrealistic image of women’s bodies. Many of the posters, which appeared on London Underground tubes and in stations, were defaced.
The ads were banned by the UK’s advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority, due to its concerns about the health and weight loss claims made in the campaign. The watchdog also launched a separate investigation to establish if it broke harm and offence rules, or whether it was socially irresponsible. The adjudication on this investigation has yet to be published.
However, one of the biggest ironies of the campaign was that the ads were due to be removed on April 29 anyway, as the company had only paid for a small run, costing £250,000. However, Protein World claims the media coverage surrounding the backlash against the ads helped boost its direct sales revenue by around £1 million ($US1.5 million).
Protein World is banking on the same thing happening in New York City. The company’s marketing chief Richard Stavely told Adweek: “It’s a big middle finger to everybody who bothered to sign that stupid petition in the UK. You could say that the London protesters helped pay for the New York campaign.”
Renee Somerfield, the model that stars in the Protein World campaign, tweeted a photo of the Times Square billboard at the weekend:
What’s up Times Square
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