Meet the British Brand That Gleefully Hates ‘Fatties’ and Their Sympathizers

And flames those who object to its ads

Not everyone thinks having a so-called beach body means being a svelte, bikini-clad model. Now, British people are creatively reminding one advertiser of that.

U.K. fitness brand Protein World has been running billboards in the London Underground featuring a skinny woman in a revealing swimsuit, alongside the incendiary tagline, "Are you beach body ready?"

Unsurprisingly, a number of people have taken exception to the implied standard for beauty, and have been hijacking the campaign as a canvas for messaging about positive body image—by posting new versions online.

Some of the critiques amount to simple graffiti, adding copy like, "Yes, everybody is. Love your body the way it is." Others have gotten more inventive—like a pair of women who photographed themselves in their own bikinis in front of a copy of the ad, and pointed out that best way to get a beach body is to "take your body to the beach."

One particularly clever satirist even cooked up a fake response ad from soap brand Dove—ever the body-image opportunist—under the umbrella of the brand's famous "Campaign for Real Beauty" tagline. ("Though we think ALL bodies are beach-ready, this image was not created or sanctioned by Dove," reads one tweet from Dove U.K. A second further explains, "We agree with 2/3 of UK women who'd prefer to see more women of all shapes & sizes.")

The incredibly charming Protein World, for its part, seems to be relishing the backlash, taking to Twitter to blast the "insecurities" of detractors, brand them "terrorists," and whine about a nation of "sympathizers for fatties"—while also crowing that the campaign has tripled sales and that the company has granted its public relations team a bonus. (A petition petition to remove the ads has reached 45,000 signatures, but the company's CEO is holding out for 1 million).

In other words, the brand doesn't want you to think it's being persecuted for an honest, well-intentioned misstep, and would rather be crystal clear that the whole thing is an ongoing, brazen and snide attempt at trolling that is playing out pretty much exactly as intended.

Or maybe its execs just sat out in the sun too long.

Via Work That Matters.

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.