There has been an incredible wave of backlash against the controversial Protein World advert that has spread like wildfire in the London Underground. The ad features a perfectly-toned, perfectly-bronzed, perfectly-photoshopped model standing in a tiny bikini alongside the words ‘Are you beach body ready?’ Almost immediately the ad was perceived by many groups to be offensive, irresponsible and harmful, and the ad was met with vandalism, defacement, twitter rants, and petitions to have it taken down.
Protein World has taken an interesting stand and has gone on quite the sharp counter-attack to the hate, standing firm in their stance of ‘self-improvement,’ though from their Twitter replies, it sounds a little more like fat-shaming. Arjun Seth, Chief Executive of Protein World, has even argued that people campaigning against the ad are ‘terrorists, irrational, and extremist.’
In a new twist, someone has cleverly fired back at Protein World by creating their own version of this ad using the logo from Dove, a leading beauty brand that has long been campaigning for ‘real beauty.’ The spoof ad features three curvy, smiling, real women proudly asserting ‘Yes. We are beach body ready.’
After being made aware of the image, a Dove representative said, “the ad was not created by Dove, but we do believe that every woman is beach body ready!” Dove has long been a champion for widening the definition of beauty and whoever created the new poster captured the essence of Dove’s mission: every body is ideal, every body is ready.
This mystery creator knew how Dove draws on an emotional connection with their consumers in their advertising and design and though the image may not have been created by Dove, it completely fooled us as the message is entirely in touch with the core of their brand identity.
More spoof ads have popped up in the last few days, including one from Lastminute.com and one from Carlsberg which not only appeared in social media, but also in digital billboards on the London Underground next to the Protein World ad.