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Beach Body Ready? #EverybodysReady - Scandalous Marketing and Mixed Reactions


Protein World’s black and yellow, beach beautiful poster has been received by the public worse than a wasp at a sandy, windswept picnic. With one poster, they have proved that waving “weight-loss” and “meal replacements” from a size six hand does not pair well with the public.

Once, whilst passing through Miami, I saw this outrageous billboard advertising ass-cheek implants under the guise of the “Brazilian Butt Lift”, aka “Butt Augmentation”. The poster was huge, complete with a really disturbing before and after picture. It leaned over the highway like that prick at a party who squeezes, like a lost thumb, into a photo already filled to bursting with faces.
At the time I first saw it I remember thinking “This really isn’t okay” and that’s a similar feeling to the one I get when I look at this hash-tag-controversial  poster from Protein World. I’ll try and find a picture of the billboard so you know what I mean…

They say a picture paints a thousand words; this one would have saved about 159:

…It’s taking too long and I can’t find it, but just imagine; massive billboard on the side of the road, blinking green background, big bold white font, hotline style phone number on a slight upward slant from the bottom, a couple of sadly generic testimonials and some imperative slogan (Something like “You can be better; you SHOULD be better) bordering two images; the first, a pair of pleasantly ordinary buttocks covered by surgically white pants, a little too large for the model, creating a slight crinkled/sagging impression; the second, presented (what we must assume were) the same pair of buttocks, only this time, slightly swollen and uncomfortably still. The pants seemed to be the same in size, so now, where they once sagged, they held fast to the flesh, pressing tightly like cheese wire before it slices out of sight. It was as if the new buttocks were baking beneath the pants, swelling and filling them like rising bread. 


Anyhow, Protein World.

For the amount of publicity this poster has gained, I wouldn’t be surprised if the controversy was intended as part of some marketing strategy suffering an extreme case of moral deficiency. For the record, if this is the case, what they’ve created is just as bad, if not worse. It means they don’t have well-meaning ignorance to soften the blow of the public’s firm fist. But surely, with the amount of money these guys spend on marketing, there must have been someone with the sense to expect the uproar this campaign would provoke.

However, Richard Staveley, Head of Global Marketing at Protein World, is an ambiguous creature whose dead, soulless eyes make him unreasonably difficult to read. It’s hard to tell whether he is just completely ignorant of the root of people’s protest to the poster, or, as his corporate parrot fashion and polite public school drawl suggests, he has been deployed knowingly, equipped with a neutralizing smile, to calm the nation with a cacophony of assurances; clarifying that he and the company hates crime and would never commit one (especially vandalism), and that they are keen for constructive conversations and criticism. He really came across like a cold sack of pube flavoured protein powder; not once did he address the issue at hand, instead just prattled on emptily about emphasising health over beauty.

Now as not to be one sided, I must admit there is a lot of support out there for the poster, it is heralded as “brilliant inspiration” and “great motivation”, you only have to go to their Twitter page so see how many people have got behind Protein world to help stamp out the whining voices of, what they describe en masse as, lefty-feminazi-fitshaming-fattys. I don’t think this support comes from some dark, evil place, I just think that the context of their support is misguided.

It’s certainly not right to criticise Renee Somerfield (Model in ad) for her appearance any more than it is to criticise anyone on how they look. But the contention doesn’t lie in whose body type is most negative; it lies within the context of which they present her; exemplifying her figure as bench mark for beach readiness.

Screen shot; twitter.com

What annoys me most about their cover photo isn’t just the blatant and archaic use of “sex sells” it’s the plain fucking laziness of it all. Is this really all it takes nowadays?! To pin your brand to the concept of the sexy, youthful, fertile form, all you have to do is literally stamp your name across one of the-possibly-most sexually charged images of history. No messing about; just straight to ass, straight to the point.

Now we may say that the male equivalent of this poster could never cause such uproar, but the fact is the context is starkly different. The hyper-sexualisation and covert oppression of women has been so hard pressed into our society that its hard see, but just flick the telly on and it won’t be long before you’re face with some diamond-finished goddess deep-throating a yogurt spoon, or coming to climax over a new shampoo, or dressed to match the silky caress of sensually smooth d-aahhh!-rk chocolate.
Saying that, I’m sure there are similarities to be drawn between the brainwaves behind extreme body building and those of bulimia and anorexia: compulsion, body image, routine, dedication, health. But I’m running out of time and space.

I’ve become a bit lost, so I feel I should end this. As long as there are more people than not standing against, and understanding, this type of problem, the world will continue to improve. I just beg anyone who doesn’t agree that this kind of advertising is a problem to really think hard about it and stop treating feminism as a dirty word. Is it at all strange to believe that a society that allowed the objective oppression of woman (women only gained the right to vote in the last 100 years!) would also misrepresent the majority of well-meaning feminists, men included, by attaching their name to negatively stereotyped extremists? I don’t think so.

If you believe in equality you are a feminist, do not conform to the word, conform to the principle, whatever you want to call it. If at times it seems that the journey to equality is favouring woman or “nit-picking” just remember, there is a balance to redress, a balance unsettled in the deepest foundations of society. 

Just think of the bigger picture and maybe one day we can live in a truly equal society where the sexes can be honestly interchanged in any ethical or societal discussion. 

Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF

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Beach Body Ready? #EverybodysReady - Scandalous Marketing and Mixed Reactions Reviewed by Unknown on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 Rating: 5

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