What the Hell is Going on at Protein World?

Supplement company Protein World recently put this ad into wide circulation.

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Oh good, another advertisement meant to terrify women into believing that our bodies aren’t good enough to be seen in public without buying a bunch of products.  Another message to teen girls that the only good body is a photoshopped body. Another company trying to steal our self-esteem, cheapen it, and sell it back to us at a profit.

Looking at Protein World’s online presense, at least the ad is in keeping with their tendency to show women as objects (their most common social media picture is a woman’s ass – no head necessary because who cares about what’s in a woman’s head amirite!  .

People started to write over the ads and create responses  in glorious fashion, as well as calling Protein World out on social media.  And then PW responded in a way that makes me think that they want to be the official supplement company of Reddit and 4chan:

In response to the backlash, Protein World stated that critics of the advert had "insecurities".

When Burton continued tweeting the company, it replied with the following message.

Note the common technique here – start by suggesting that women should have to look a certain way to deserve to exist in the world, trying to create insecurity as a sales tactic.  When called on it, try to act like it’s about “health.”  (We’re not oppressing you ladies, we’re making you feel like shit so you buy our product in the hopes that you can manipulate your body so that we’ll approve of the way you look…ya know, for your health.  CAN’T YOU SEE IT’S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD!!!!)

Like their supplements, I’m not buying this for a second.

And then this from the company CEO:

In a now deleted tweet, the CEO of Protein World, Arjun Seth, answered one critic with this.

Keep it classy there Arjun.  PW continues to double down on social media, being proud of the fact that they won’t back down from hardcore stance of trying to create and prey on female insecurity to sell pills and shakes. People who think that they deserve better continue to fight back:

There is a petition with over 35K signatures at https://www.change.org/p/proteinworld-arjun-seth-remove-are-you-beach-body-ready-advertisements/u/10605866 

You can find them on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ProteinWorld

You can find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/proteinworldnutrition

You can also always buy your supplements elsewhere, and you can remember:

Picture courtesy of the fabulous Jodee Rose http://jodee.deviantart.com
Picture courtesy of the fabulous Jodee Rose http://jodee.deviantart.com

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18 thoughts on “What the Hell is Going on at Protein World?

    1. Good!

      Protein powder is purchased by men and women –for many reasons. They should have thought of that in their responses. Does their snarkiness make one more likely, or less likely, to purchase their product? Hmmm, I think less likely.

      I’d fire their PR group – if were in charge there.

      1. *dons tinfoil hat*

        I think their marketing strategy accomplished exactly what it intended. They *know* fat people drink protein shakes for the same variety of reasons thin people do, but they also want to draw in new customers by convincing them drinking their shake will make them thin. How can they sell that to the public if the public sees fatties using their product? So they ensure that never happens by making themselves so repellant to fat shoppers we wouldn’t touch their product with a forty-foot pole. There! Now only thin people will buy and use their product, and casual shoppers will only see thin people buying and using their product, and, hopefully, they will reach the conclusion they’re thin because the product made them that way… when it’s actually just because the ad campaign disgusted fat customers into going with the competition.

        I didn’t say it was a *smart* marketing strategy. I just said it was accomplishing exactly what it intended.

    1. It felt so good to sign that petition (and I added a comment, as well, about PW not being in the 21st century if its strategy was to shame women and their bodies).

  1. Yes, I like my health which is why I would never buy something like dubious protein powders. Ugh. I wonder why they start marketing women now though, this used to be a mens-only product, right? For those guys trying to build up muscle faster.

    1. Man trying to bulk up his muscles=bodybuilder=no visible body fat=drink this to look like that only girlier, is my guess.

      I’m sure protein powder has its place, but when I was doing strength training I thought it smelled nasty. I woke up late at night craving meat and full-fat yogurt.

    2. I make green smoothies for my husband and I for breakfast most mornings. I usually add protein powder to it so that it is a bit more filling. It has nothing to do with muscle building or weight loss for us, but a matter of giving our bodies the protein that we might lack in other areas of our life some days.

      1. There can be medical reasons to consume more protein than you can get from your regular diet. For example, if you have a problem that forces you to have your food in a liquid form, and you have another problem that requires you to consume three times the protein that most people need, protein powder would be a good choice.

        My sister and father both tried to drink protein powder, because they needed lots and lots and lots of protein (due to a particular disorder and the fact that we couldn’t get enough meat for them), and they both hated the stuff, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

        At least they didn’t advertise it as a tasty treat.

  2. On Facebook, PW has declared they are “winning” and that the CEO & PR guy are having a “good laugh” replying to angry commenters. This group may be unreachable.

    1. People who repeatedly tell you that they don’t care… are actually proving the opposite.

      I suppose they could give some weak, pretend apology, but what difference would that really make when their intent would still be to go on with business as usual?

    2. Winning the comment war? Whatever. It’s a business, and it’s the financial bottom line that will prove who “won” and who “lost.”

      Witty comments don’t fill the bank account. “Witty,” cruel comments aimed at your potential customers, even less so.

  3. Wow, I just re-read those responses, and… uh…

    Twitter: Your ‘glassy-eyed/headless tits and asses’ ad campaign is creepy. Patrick Bateman creepy.

    PW: No, you! And ur fat.

    But, hey, look on the bright side. If the ad campaign does backfire and they start losing business everywhere but the slasher movie villain demographic, they can just pay some doctors to write a glowing editorial about them in a sports magazine and the mainstream media will treat it like news.

  4. This debate occurred over 2 years ago. Any info on what the take-away is? I’d like to know if PW had to eat its words … in a nasty protein shake, of course! 😉

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