A new marketing campaign by supplement retailer Protein World has people fuming over the company’s decision to use scantily clad fitness models to advertise weight loss products. Many people claim the main goal of the advertisements is to make people feel guilty about their bodies because they are not, as Protein World states, “beach body ready.” In response to Protein World’s promotion, over 70,000 people have signed a petition calling for an end to the offensive advertising campaign.
Many protestors have slammed the advertisements, claiming the messages are negative and geared towards shaming fat people. By displaying voluptuous and curvy models, Protein World has effectively proclaimed that you must be “ultra-fit” to have a beautiful beach body. Protein World customer, and Big Brother celebrity, Helen Wood criticized the protestors, declaring that “a girl showing off a good body due to regular exercise and eating her greens should be celebrated as a positive role model.” However, protesters don't seem to share her sentiment. They claim the ad campaign is simply meant to make people feel inferior, as they are not able to attain the unrealistic body image portrayed by Protein World. Nevertheless, the company has held its ground. In fact, Protein World’s gross sales have skyrocketed in the midst of widespread criticism.
Marketers often claim there is no such thing as bad press; Protein World exemplifies this saying. Although its advertisements are controversial, they have created an unprecedented amount of attention. The ads, which cost about £250,000 (or roughly $277,000), have generated £1 million (or $1.1 million) in direct sales revenue. However, while impressive, this revenue spike is most likely a temporary occurrence.
Nonetheless, if Protein World can retain some of its new customers, it will experience significant long-term benefits. However, Protein World’s customer base might make such revenue recognition extremely difficult. The company’s customers are 84% female, and since female consumers have been negatively targeted by these advertisements, Protein World is bound to lose diehard customers. Thus, if Protein World is unable to offset customer losses, by retaining new customers, the marketing campaign will ultimately prove to be a huge mistake.