Gym Ad Angers San Francisco for Suggesting Aliens Will ‘Eat the Fat Ones First’

Grey says it meant no offense

If diet shakes, pills or Buns of Steel videos fail to provide incentive for those thinking about losing weight, how about the threat of alien attack?

That was the tongue-in-cheek scenario proposed by creatives at Grey Advertising, San Francisco, in their first ads for Bay Area health club chain 24 Hour Fitness. They created an ad featuring shadowy images of big-headed, bug-eyed aliens (shown here). Copy read: "When they come, they'll eat the fat ones first."

Members of the local Association to Advance Fat Acceptance didn't appreciate the joke, however, and staged a protest. Their cries were heard by media types from Rosie O'Donnell to Rush Limbaugh.

Alan Randolph, creative director at Grey, said the ad was not intended to poke fun, but to counter the "sameness" of most health club advertising.

"Our goal was to use humor to motivate people to get out there and get fit for their health," he said. "But we certainly didn't mean to offend anyone. I mean, I'm no physical specimen either."