A series of body-conscious billboards around London have inspired women around the world to slam the sexist and unrealistic body standards they promote.
The ads, for British protein powder company Protein World, feature the slogan “are you beach body ready?” alongside a photo of size-6 Australian model Renee Somerfield.
— Tilly (@matilda_lowther) April 24, 2015
The billboards are supposed to be spruiking the company’s collection of weight loss supplements and meal replacement options, but have had the opposite effect.
The campaign has prompted the creation of a petition on Change.org to have the ads removed from tube stations around London.
The billboards have also been defaced with graffiti featuring phrases like “f**k off”.
Protein World has been criticised for its response to the backlash, with the company choosing to maintain its stance on body image, retweeting praise for the brand and promoting its booming profits as a result of the campaign.
“We are a nation of sympathisers for fatties,” Protein World responded to one critic on Twitter. “Why make your insecurities our problem?”
According to sales figures, Protein World has had sales of more than £1 million in the four days since the campaign launch.
— Fiona Longmuir (@EscapologistGl) April 22, 2015
Meanwhile, Somerfield, the Sydney-based model whose figure is featured in the ads, has spoken out in defence of the campaign.
“I think nearly every ad campaign you have ever seen is open to interpretation,” the 23-year-old told The Huffington Post.
“But saying the ad is body shaming by body shaming the image is very contradictory.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”