Beach Body Ready?

beach body ready?

Yesterday I was in London, and it was difficult to miss the bright yellow adverts from Protein World around the city. I was so busy concentrating on getting the right tube they disappeared into the rest of the advertising clutter for me, so it wasn’t until I settled with my coffee this morning to catch up with Twitter that I saw the backlash and the company’s terrible response to them.

I find it difficult being involved in health and fitness whilst also promoting body positivity. I firmly believe that you should be proud of what your body can DO and the non-aesthetic targets you’ve hit; however, working out and eating well also changes how your body looks, and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t something I cared about, even if it isn’t my primary concern. The fitness industry thrives by target our worries about our looks – I doubt that as much protein powder would be sold or gyms have as many members if they focused their advertising on how much better you will feel as opposed to how good you might look.

As someone interested in both fitness and marketing, I’m fascinated about where this is going. The general public question everything now and feel like they can respond and have their voices heard, whether that be by social media or adding graffiti to posters. Many industries have moved on and realised that customers now TELL brands and businesses what they want, as opposed to the brand doing what they THINK the customers want. Fitness has yet to catch up with this, I feel; the industry’s marketing techniques are homogenised and target people’s insecurities, and brands are scared to step outside of this tried-and-tested method because it’s worked for so long.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. Think what you like about the sport: in CrossFit bodies are an afterthought, with progression, strength and supporting your peers being the main goals. The This Girl Can campaign empowered women by promoting activity for everyone, no matter what you look like, and the recent Holland & Barrett protein TV campaign tells us why protein benefits how our bodies function rather than look. And this may be predictable but I can’t not bring Nike into this – they’re selling clothes and trainers, yes (everyone is selling something!), but their past few women’s campaigns have been focused on being the best version of YOU possible rather than striving for unattainable bodies.

Whether the fitness industry likes it or not, things are changing. We as customers know what we want. We want to be proud of our bodies, however they look, and don’t want to be told we shouldn’t be. We have voices, and we’re not afraid to use them.

Main image from BuzzFeed.

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3 Comments

  1. Chris Tyrer
    April 25, 2015 / 1:54 pm

    Protein World is short term marketing genius. They will be the biggest selling protein shake in the UK right now as a result of them getting more exposure through all the attention, but the bottom line is that they have embraced their own bad press and made the brand toxic. When the dust settles, you don’t have the outrage that is putting them in the spotlight, online sales will go through the floor. Couple this with no retailers wanting to touch them with a barge pole they are headed for disaster.

    The katie hopkins of protein shakes!

    • April 25, 2015 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you Mr Marketing! If you also check out their Twitter their comeback to those opposing the ads is “you’re not our customer so we don’t care”. What was the point of the billboard ads then, if not to attract new customers? And I may not be a Protein World customer, but I do buy protein, thus a correctly targeted ad may have made me change brands.

      I should probably add to my ‘brands doing it well’ addendum: Asics celebrate the runner and running in all its forms very well ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  2. April 30, 2015 / 10:15 am

    I really love this post! It’s so true. but when so many people who don’t work out struggle to comprehend that you may do it for strength or performance goals rather than for aesthetics there’s clearly a long way to go until the shift you’re describing will be made fully : ( x

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