An ad for a new brand of weight loss pills has been deemed “irresponsible” and subsequently banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority after 200 people stormed the complaints hotline.
The weight loss pills from pharmaceutical brand Omega Pharma show a woman being jealous of her friend’s weight loss before they go on holiday. The friend recommends these weight loss pills as the other friend looks despairingly into the mirror declaring she’ll never be able to fit into her holiday clothes, despite appearing relatively thin and healthy looking.
But never fear, these weight loss pills are available, in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, says the ad, and the two friends are seen gallivanting and taking selfies on the beach.
Check out the banned ad below.
While some complainants were concerned the ad would appeal to a teen audience – which the ASA did not agree with – the Authority did concede the imagery in the ad was irresponsible and did not promote a healthy body image.
“We considered the combination of her already healthy slim appearance and poor body image and confidence created the impression that weight loss was desirable.” The ads must not appear anymore in their current form.
Omega Pharma’s response to the controversy has been relatively polite. “They believed the context of the ad and the text encouraged a healthy lifestyle with XLS Medical supporting the user to help achieve their weight goal,” said Omega Pharma, which is much unlike the ‘grow some balls’ response from Protein World for a similar issue.
The protein company faced backlash from the poms when it slapped ads in the London underground featuring a bikini clad Aussie model and asking the public whether they were ‘beach body ready?’
Predictably, a social media storm ensued, as commuters defaced the posters or created parodies.
Often when a brand is lambasted, the response is an apology and a withdrawing of an ad or form of communication – if upheld by the country’s ad standards authority.