Susanna Reid dubs controversial Protein World weight-loss adverts 'anxiety-inducing'

Many people have argued that the adverts are sexist - but the company doesn't seem to agree

Helen Nianias
Tuesday 28 April 2015 14:24 BST
Susanna Reid has opened up for the first time about he breast cancer scare, writing in her column for The Sun
Susanna Reid has opened up for the first time about he breast cancer scare, writing in her column for The Sun (Getty Images)

The posters have been called "sexist", "offensive" and now "anxiety inducing", but Protein World are showing no signs of slowing down.

Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid took the company's Head of Global Marketing, Richard Staveley, to task over the inflammatory campaign. It features a slim model in a bikini next to the question: "Are you beach body ready?"

On Tuesday's programme, Reid asked if Staveley stood by the firm's previous statement that the people who have vandalised the adverts are "irrational" and "terrorists".

Staveley argued that: "There is a degree of irrational extremists, yes, who have objected to this advert."

Feminists have defaced the adverts with the hashtag #EashBodysReady.

Staveley appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend his brand's adverts (ITV/Good Morning Britain)

Reid added that the poster campaign made her uncomfortable, asking: "Am I irrational by finding that advert a little bit anxiety inducing? Am I an irrational extremist?"

"No of course not," Staveley replied. "We're all welcome to our own opinions. We've actually had some really constructive criticism and we've engaged in some really constructive conversations with people who have objected."

"We've actually had threats on our head office," he said. "Physical, violent threats - we had a bomb threat."

He added: "We’re advertising a particular collection, this is our Weight Loss collection, that’s an image applicable to that collection and what many people, millions of people, are aspiring to do in time for their summer holiday: to lose a bit of weight, feel a bit healthier and get fitter. It’s not a new concept."

The posters are going to be taken down by Transport for London at the end of their contract with Protein World after Wednesday.

Over 200 people have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority because they "promote an unhealthy body image".

Katie Hopkins and The Apprentice candidate (and Protein World spokesperson) Luisa Zissman have defended the company. Zissman said: “I personally think the controversy surrounding Protein World is the extreme feminist brigade letting off some bra-burning steam once again.”

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