I travel on the Tube daily and often find myself perusing the advertising billboards and posters that are splashed across every station wall.
I remember last year seeing the Protein World advert, the one featuring a pretty, fit bikini-clad woman advertising weight-loss supplements with the slogan; “Are You Beach Body Ready?” – a seemingly harmless advert to most commuters but one that attracted complaints.
The advert is now back in the news, grabbing headlines again because new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has asked Transport for London (TfL) to set up its own advertising steering group in order to ban adverts such as the Protein World one that, in his eyes, promote negative body images.
I say “in his eyes” because following the 378 complaints about the Protein World advert the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) watchdog investigated and ruled the advert was neither offensive nor irresponsible.
Read more from Tabitha Why grasping travel companies should be in the dock
Mr Khan has been quoted as saying: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”
The matter is subjective and should not be placed in the hands of a state steering group.
I found the advert to be neither demeaning nor body shaming but instead rather inspiring. So much so that it motivated me to get fit, shape up and lose those extra pounds I’d been carrying since Master A’s arrival. That dreaded long-term “baby-weight”.
We live in a society where obesity is a killer and is putting a major strain on our NHS. The UK has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe, with adults suffering from obesity-linked illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, strokes and heart attacks currently costing £6billion a year in care and treatment.
Surely, an advert that promotes a healthy body image, encourages people to look at their own fitness levels, aspire to be a fitter and healthier version of them should be lauded not vilified?