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London’s most controversial ad campaign is about to hit New York

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

Last month, a simple question managed to enrage a substantial chunk of London, drove seemingly law-abiding citizens to deface property and ignited innumerable conversations about advertising’s relationship to gender and body issues: “Are you beach body ready?”

The words, spelled out in large block letters over a bronzed, incredibly fit model named Renee Somerfield, were displayed on advertisements for Protein World (a weight loss supplement) and the posters quickly had many accusing the company of promoting sexist and unattainable body goals.

A petition garnered over 70,000 signatures to get the company to take down the ads and numerous posters on the Tube were defaced to read: “Each Body’s Ready.” #Everybodysready became a rallying hashtag on Twitter where everyday women stood next to the ads in bathing suits. Beer brand Carlsberg even commented on the controversy by releasing ads asking if consumers were “Beer body ready.”

Unfazed by the uproar (the Tube advertisements have since been taking down in London after reaching the end of their run) the controversial ad campaign is now coming to New York. A billboard for the company is already up on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues and the same campaign will be coming to the subway on Monday, taking over most of the Union Square station

But the company doesn't seem to be too worried about facing a similar opposition stateside.

“When we ran this campaign in the UK we upset a small minority of extreme feminists that gave us a terrific platform to shout our true message, which is simply that anybody and everybody can benefit from good supplementation, whether their goal be to get leaner, fitter, healthier or stronger,” says Richard Staveley, Protein World’s head of marketing.

See photos from some more of the response in London to the advertisements below.

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