Europe’s largest consumer health and fitness event has come out in support of the controversial Beach Body Ready campaign on social media – and received an overwhelming response

BodyPower Expo, the exciting sport, fitness and nutrition event taking place in Birmingham next weekend 15 – 17 May has publicly showed its support for the Protein World advertisement campaign. The ‘beach body ready’ campaign, featuring model Renee Somerfield, has come under criticism for “body shaming” and has apparently caused offence to women across the UK.

After mass vandalising of the underground adverts, a petition with 50,000 signatures and a demonstration in Hyde Park, the Advertising Standards Agency has banned the advertisement from appearing again in its current form. Beat, a charity focusing on eating disorders has criticised the campaign, alongside celebrities such as Susannah Reid. But BodyPower – along with many of its Facebook fans – disagree with the criticism of a healthy, fit model in a campaign which is promoting weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

The BodyPower team shared a photo on Facebook with the tagline: ‘We support #healthy bodies ready for the beach!’ which has been shared over 300 times. The photo, which shows an underground advertisement for McDonalds against an underground advert for Protein World, has received over 670 likes and many comments, most in support of the campaign.

Nick Orton, BodyPower CEO said, “It was great to see that the BodyPower post comparing the ‘Chips’ poster with the ‘bikini’ poster got such a lot of interest – the importance of this comparison should not be underestimated. I think we all know that some people will be offended by a beautiful body, because it makes them feel inadequate or depressed, because it reminds them that they are not ‘in shape’. We also all know that the vast majority of people would prefer to look good, but not enough to actually take the action to make it happen, and that is fine.

The bigger issue though is the steady increase in obesity levels across the world - as more people become obese, there are more people who get upset over images of ‘bikini’ posters, because there are more people who are not ‘in shape’. Effectively, it is becoming more acceptable to be obese. Current figures in the UK (from 2013) showed that a massive 62.1% of adults were overweight or obese.”

The marketing team at Protein World have insisted that the controversy was sparked by a minority making a lot of noise and taking part in extreme behaviour. But apparently it hasn’t halted the campaign’s success as a whole, drawing in £2 million in sales. One social media user comments on the hypocrisy of the uproar: “…one day the papers are complaining about obesity costing the NHS millions, then the next day complaining about a healthy woman on a poster.”

BodyPower Expo is the most prominent health and fitness event in the UK, with over 70,000 visitors and athletes from over 100 countries. Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, BodyPower Expo has something for every fitness enthusiast, with specialist exhibitions, feature areas, competitions and celebrity appearances. International athletes and industry experts will be hosting events over the weekend, including Hulk Hogan, Lorraine Pascale, Jessie Pavelka, Phil Heath, Michelle Lewin, Amanda Latona and Kai Greene.

One of the main features at the Expo will be ‘BodyPower’s Beach Body’ where visitors can get transported to California’s Muscle Beach. Some of the biggest names in sport and fitness will be on hand, giving demonstrations which will help people get “beach body ready” and feeling confident in their bikinis or trunks. Along with Protein World, BodyPower believes there is nothing wrong with aspiring for a fit and toned body to flaunt on the beach.

BodyPower Expo runs 15th-17thMay 2015 at Brimingham NEC.

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