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Whey Out of Line: Why Your Rage at Protein World Ads is Counter-Productive

Reading the Evening Standard on the way home yesterday I came across the story of yet more outrage about a Protein World advertising campaign.

The ad features reality TV ‘star’ Khloe Kardashian in an 80s style leotard and leg-warmer get up promoting a weight loss product. The ad is apparently causing consternation amongst some Londoners and Green Assembly member, Caroline Russell, has spoken out on their behalf. Russell is “urging the Mayor to look again at these adverts that challenge young people to ‘keep up’ with reality stars known for idealised and unrealistic body shapes.”

The problem with this outcry though is that, far from causing a headache for the marketing bods at Protein World, it is playing right in to their hands. I would hazard a guess that, after the impact they achieved with their previous ‘Are you Beach Body Ready’ ad, stirring up another controversy is precisely what they were looking for when they were dreaming up this next campaign. And who can blame them? The first ad, which featured a woman in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini next to the now infamous slogan, was the subject of such a huge furore that it ended up being featured in every major newspaper and discussed at length on many a TV and radio show. For the price of a few tube ads, Protein World received money-can’t-buy levels of advertising.

So, if you are really offended by the latest campaign, I would suggest that the most effective way of combatting it is to simply ignore it.

In the meantime, despite my personal view on the ads themselves, I have to give kudos to Protein World for finding a way of getting not one but two of their ads to run on page 9 of the Standard (as well as in numerous other outlets) without paying the paper a dime.

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