A motivational advertisement for Anytime Fitness has come under fire by the Advertising Standards Board (ASB) for using the word ‘F*CK’ which appeared on the gym’s social media pages- Facebook and Twitter.
This advertisement consists of a post which included a video and the caption: “It’s time. You know what to do. Say f*ck unfit and change your life. Try our 10-day free trial F*ck Unfit” The video has a female voice over that talks about inner voices and excuses not to get fit. Text which matches what the voice over is saying appears on screen along with pictures of people at the gym and in exercise clothes.
The voice over says “This year join five-hundred thousand voices that say…” the voice over cuts off and the text “F*CK UNFIT!” appears. The video goes on to give more information about the gyms.
Spoiler alert- the Facebook post has been removed because of the ruling, but here is the YouTube spot:
The complaint was because the campaign barely disguised the ‘F Word’:
The campaign uses the title ‘F*CK UNFIT’. This is now used in the text content of related advertising by gyms in the franchise and as an associated hashtag. I object to this as it is offensive and clearly seeks to make use of the word ‘FUCK’ in its advertising.
The word ‘FUCK’ is barely disguised with a ‘*’ but it leaves little to the imagination. If this form of advertising is allowed it is only a short way away from the entire word ”FUCK’ being allowed for use in general advertising. I believe that this advert fails acceptable standards of decency in our community.
The Board agreed with the complaint: “The majority of the Board however considered that while the audience may be narrower than that of the flyers and posters, in the Board’s view many people still find references to the F word to be strong and obscene.
“The Board noted that the phrase, “F*CK UNFIT!” is very clearly in each version of the advertisement and considered that children aged 13 and over would be able to read it and understand it, and in the Board’s view, many adults would find this phrase to be strong, obscene and not appropriate in the context of advertising for gymnasium membership.”
Anytime Fitness representative said the campaign “concluded on 11 February 2017 and our franchise network have been advised to discontinue use of all marketing materials and advertisements associated with the campaign”.