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THE HOWFF – 30.4.2015

Andy Maciverby Andy Maciver


The controversy over the London UndergroundĀ ad campaign by Protein World, which promotes weight loss products and hasĀ been running during the month of April, has taught us a couple of things.

Firstly, it has taught us the continuing power of fitness and health advertising. This is no bad thing. We are an unhealthy nation and we should be aspiring to a better, more active and more personally responsible way of life. (There is a legitimate concern in this case about certain types of weight loss product, but this has been rather lost in the flurry of publicity about body image).

Secondly, it has taught us that apparent bad publicity can sometimes be exactly what the doctor orders. 60,000 people have signed a petition to have the ads removed and there have been hundreds of complaints to the ASA – but with 2.5m people a day passing through the London underground every day and sales well up, Protein World are unphased. Committed followers of fitness and those in pursuit of a body like the model in the ad are unlikely to be swayed, so long as they like the product, so Protein World will be delighted that word has reached more of them.

The ad campaign has now been banned, and it’s unclear whether the proposed Hyde Park protest will still go ahead. Either way, I imagine Protein World will reflect on a job well done.