In 2015 health supplement firm Protein World showed just how far a provocative ad can go to boosting sales, a strategy that now appears to have been adopted by Fit4Less which is the latest fitness brand to erect a supposedly offensive ad.
The gym chain put up an OOH ad in Derbyshire, claiming to be the salve to obesity – but not ugliness – with the following tagline: 'Tired of being… fat and ugly? Just be ugly!'
The ad has been condemned by a number of social media users, spearheaded by charity Combat Bullying which said the ad should not suggest being 'fat' or 'ugly' can be cured.
The charity’s founder took to Twitter to condemn the slot.
— Natalie Harvey (@natharvey77) August 5, 2016
The brand responded to complaints, saying it was having a bit of “light hearted fun”.
Its statement read: "Fit4less is a brand that doesn't take itself too seriously, the campaign is intended to be seen as light-hearted fun and we certainly don't mean to cause offence.
"By adopting a light-hearted approach we can reach a wider audience and gain the attention of people who wouldn't usually respond to traditional gym advertising."
Local newspaper, the Derby Telegraph broke the story. It also ran a poll, of 710 respondents, with 81 per cent saying they were not offended by the slot.