Friday, 22 April 2016

Beach Body Ready: the ad to the meme

It was almost a year ago, in April and May of 2015, when online company Protein World ran an ad campaign advertising a weight loss 'meal substitute' on the London underground, entitled “beach body ready”.

The ad featured a 23 year old Australian model, Renee Somerfield, who is tall and extremely slight.

Sullivan (2015) reported that "Thousands of women have slammed the ads as sexist, arguing they commodify women’s bodies". And, as fast as the ads went up in tube stations, platforms and trains, members of the public were adding their own creative spin - graffiti - to them.

Those responses ranged from spontaneous and direct to funny and provocative. Many were very clever. Some were simply offensive.

In response to the ad, the UK public sent over 400 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, held a protest in London’s Hyde Park with everyone in swimwear, sparked a Twitter hashtag #eachbodysready, and more than 70,000 signed a petition on, entitled "Remove ‘Are You Beach Body Ready’ Advertisements".

British Rail pulled the ad before it completed its run due to concerns about vandalism and the increasing hostility of the language. However, the ads sparked a meme that spanned the globe.

I put a clip together illustrating the change (NB: some images contain offensive language). Watch below:



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