Issues with the Beach Body: A Culture Jam Assignment


Original ad by Protein World.

Original Ad Analysis

Protein World revealed its ad for their weight loss collection by placing it in multiple public spaces. The ad consists of a model posing in a yellow bikini, matching the background colour, and is surrounded by the phrase, “are you beach body ready?” in order to emphasize the model’s body as the ideal beach body. The ad uses a gray-scale for the model’s body, whilst her bikini is the only part of her that contains any colour; this allows the ad to direct people’s attention to her body, as it stands out due to her bikini matching the background colour. In a very small-sized font, below the main big bolded question, the ad writes its recommendation of “substituting two daily meals of an energy restricted diet with a meal replacement [as it] contributes to weight loss”.

The problems I will be addressing includes the company’s exploitation of people’s insecurities as it aims to reinforce the idea that there is one specific body type that is considered a “beach body”. The question is geared towards individuals who do not look like the model, essentially telling them that unless they look like her, they are not considered “beach body ready”; it’s made worse as it recommends people to forgo their meals in favour of meal replacements. Although the ad itself is already problematic, what makes it worse is the company’s response to the public’s criticism against the ad. On twitter, Protein World was replying to many of the people who were criticizing the ad. They responded to people who were concerned about the insecurities that the ad may bring out in people by tweeting “why make your insecurities our problem [wink emoji]”. They continued to respond to posts that were concerned about girls not feeling good enough by saying, “and it’s ok to be fat and out of shape instead of healthy? We are a nation of sympathisers for fatties”. In conclusion, Protein World was, and still is, completely unapologetic in regard to this ad and I will therefore, attempt to bring these issues to attention in my own version.

My version of the ad.

Culture Jammed Ad Explanation

Due to my hobby and interest in graphic design, this was a very exciting project for me.  My jamming philosophy consisted of taking the latent message from original ad and manifesting them so that they are clear and visible; I still wanted my ad to look as identical to the original as I aim to subvert each element of the ad.  As a result, I used a “plus size” model to reveal Protein World’s target audience, while using blue as the colour for the bikini and background as it is close to the colour opposite of yellow in the RGB colour wheel; the exact opposite of yellow is a darker blue, however, I used a light blue for font readability purposes.  With a similar font and texturing, the bolded phrase I used to replace the question of whether people are beach body ready is, “not a size 0? You’re too fat for the beach”; it makes the hidden message of the original ad clear that if people look any bigger than the original model and look closer to the model that I have presented, they should avoid the beach as their bodies are not ready for a location that is filled with scantily clad individuals.  In addition, the text originally recommending replacing meals with meal replacements has been substituted for my own recommendation saying to “starve yourself skinny and use meal replacements instead of actual food to assist your weight loss”; ironically, meal replacements shouldn’t be replacing all the meals people eat as it is still missing a lot of things present in whole foods, such as enzymes and antioxidants (Dowell 2018).

As a response to Protein World’s public tweets, I used their idea of being a “fatty sympathiser” and replaced their collection name with “Anti Fatty Sympathisers Collection”, as I wanted to highlight how the company’s attitude affect the image of their products.  In addition, I replaced Protein World’s original tagline of “Pure Performance” with “Pure Fatphobia” in order to make it more honest in regard to the company’s goals and attitude towards “fatties”.  Lastly, I changed the name of the bottle from “The Slender” to “Insecurity Exploiter” as the ad itself aims to exploit women’s insecurities over their own bodies in order for them to become a consumer of the products.

Works Cited:

Dowell, M. (2018). “Do Meal Replacement Shakes Really Work?”. Retrieved from

Kenyon, Z. (2015). “Protein World responds to beach body ad backlash with virulent tweets”. Retrieved from