Gym advertisements are about as boring as actually going to the gym. But one gym in the UK is trying a different tactic by featuring a billboard with aliens ready to abduct a few humans. The problem some people are having with the billboard is the aliens are looking for “fat people” instead.
The billboard reads “They’re coming…and when they arrive they’ll take the FAT ones first!” and a lot of people who saw the billboard were quick to deem the advertisement as fat-shaming and bullying.
On one hand, the billboard does show an overweight person getting ready to be beamed up into the flying saucer, so it actually depicts a “fat” person as they call it, but it’s also clearly just a ridiculous advertising tactic. Usually most gym ads feature super fit people, the body types in which we all hope to achieve but rarely find the time or energy to do. But a billboard featuring alien abduction? Unless you’re actually fearful of aliens, it feels more comedic than hateful but most people beg to differ. So much so, Jan Spaticchia, one of the people in charge of the gym’s parent company released this statement defending the billboard.
“We aim to get people talking and promote the notion of a healthy lifestyle. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. I’m a 45-year-old man who is 17.5 stone and proud of it but I’m healthy with it.’
‘We also believe however that if we are going to reach more people as a sector then we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously and realize that if we want to attract normal people, then we need to be willing to poke fun at ourselves and our messaging is designed to do exactly that.”
Adweek however has pointed out that this gym tactic is nothing new in the ways of rangling new members OR in the ways of comedy. Check out this billboard from 1999 featuring the same punchline. If Fit4Less is guilty of anything, it’s for using old, worn matierial.
If you visit Fit4Less’ website, you’ll find nothing about aliens or the “fat ones” but instead your very generic, very forgettable website featuring gym equipment, techno music and pricing so at least the gym isn’t using the ad as some sort of overall campaign or brand.
At the end of the day, being willing enough to sign up for a gym membership (and willing to pay for it) should come from a place of positive thinking and not one of being teased or made fun of because even though the billboard is meant to be humorous, the humor is in the eye of the beholder. Regardless of one’s opinion, they certainly got a lot of people talking about their gym.
What do you guys think? Is this billboard funny or straight up fat-shaming people?