Protein World’s “Beach Body” campaign effectively pissed off a lot of people, but according to the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority, folks might have been offended by it, but that doesn’t make the ad in itself a bad thing. Protein World’s campaign asking, “Are you beach body ready?” launched petitions and several guerilla campaigns decrying the ad, saying it was shaming people who don’t have a stereotypical “fit” body. Through it all, Protein World stood firmly in defense of its ads, saying they promote a healthy lifestyle and target those whose weight loss goals are similar to the campaign image – they’re not meant to shame people.
The Advertising Standards Authority agrees. In spite of receiving 378 complaints about the ads, it ruled that the gripes were much ado about nothing. “We considered the claim ‘Are you beach body ready’ prompted readers to think about whether they were in the shape they wanted to be for the summer and we did not consider that the accompanying image implied that a different body shape to that shown was not good enough or was inferior,” the ASA said. “We concluded that the headline and image were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.”