Rosemary Donahue
June 13, 2016 12:14 pm
Getty / Cultura RM Exclusive/Dan Dunkley

The ad game is tricky — it’s a well-known fact that to get people to want to buy something, one of the quickest ways to do so is often to get them to want to change something about themselves. It’s an icky fact, but it’s a fact. We’re constantly looking for ways to become better, smarter, and more attractive, and if a product promises to help us get there, the urge to buy it often becomes too strong to resist. This urge can be especially strong during a commute — while we’re commuting, we’re often anxious, tired, or just plain bored, all of which lead us to thinking about ourselves and how we’d like to be different.

That’s why advertisers often place body-shaming ads, like the controversial campaign that Protein World thought up last year, in subway stations and along other transportation routes. In the ads, a beautiful, fit model towers over us as we walk by, asking, “Are you beach body ready?” thus prompting us to ask ourselves the same. They hope the answer is no, and thus, we’ll need to use their products to get there. The ads first circulated in London and then crossed the pond to NYC, where they may get the body-positive treatment from these two women.

The Protein World ad in question

But back to London — Sadiq Khan, who was recently elected Mayor of London, is not happy with these ads and the effects he believes they’ll have on young people (especially women), and is already starting work to strengthen Transport for London’s (TfL) rules when it comes to advertising so that things like this can’t slip by.

Khan said in a press release:

We think this is a great move — all bodies are beach body ready, and hopefully this will set an example for legislators everywhere.