Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The great Beach Body backfire

Bright yellow advertisements for weight loss products have improved/degenerated the commute for Londoners on the tube network in the past few weeks. These ads scream the stupid question: "ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?" at us alongside a picture of a woman in a bikini looking both slim and impressive of bosom all at once. In other words, she possesses a body type few of us have thanks to Mother Nature, some of us will attain through assorted methods, and most of us will never have.

In reality, if you share the model's waist size, you are more than likely to be small-breasted. If you share her generous cup size, the rest of you may well be in proportion too. Of course, there are exceptions as there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to body type - and that is why it is ridiculous that body types go in and out of fashion over the decades.

The obvious answer to the stupid question is: "Yes, I am beach body ready. I have a body and I am capable of taking it to the beach where I will be ready to do beach-related things."

There has been an outcry over these ads. The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 200 complaints. The posters have been improved/vandalised by protesters. I saw one on the tube tonight that had "Stop objectification" written on it.

So what has happened as a result of the brouhaha? Sales of the weight loss products went up.

Of course they did. Proving that any publicity is good publicity, the winner is Protein World. Which sounds like the worst-ever amusement park.

The two most likely reasons for this sales spike are equally depressing. If people have decided to spite those awful feminists by buying Protein World products, they are a bit sad. They are probably the same idiots who hijacked the #FeministsAreUgly hashtag on Twitter.

And the other equally depressing reason why Protein World got a boost in sales is that people wanted to see what all the fuss was about, decided they were not "beach body ready" and, as a result, have been conned into buying a completely moronic product. We are talking about capsules and meal replacements. Short-term quick fixes.

It is a get-rich-quick scheme for Protein World that does nothing to promote learning to prepare healthy meals or the benefits of regular exercise. These shysters are selling crap like "green tea extract powder" for £12. You can buy 80 green teabags for £2.80 today at Sainsburys. They're even fair-trade teabags.

So it would seem Protein World is appealing to snide feminist-haters, uneducated consumers and people desperate for a quick fix rather than a healthy lifestyle change.

Changing your lifestyle is boring but it works out cheaper and more effective in the long run than replacing meals with a £62 package of "The Slender Blend" meal replacement potion and multivitamin capsules.

If you bought Protein World products because you hate feminists, the joke is on you. You are now the proud owner of stupid, overpriced supplements all because you wanted to make a pathetic point. If you were fooled by the advertising campaign and truly think replace meals with overproduced slop in a glass is the way forward, I feel sorry for you. You have been tricked by a marketing campaign where not only does the model have a rare body type, she also has the benefit of good lighting and possibly the miracle of PhotoShop.

Protein World and similar companies will continue to use such models for their campaigns. Of course they will. Let's be realistic. Ann Widdecombe will not be the next face and body of Protein World.

But that does not mean you have to be an idiot consumer. All this beach body brouhaha has demonstrated is that many people are easily fooled. And that is most depressing of all.

Photography by Gerhard Lipold

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