Recent scenes of Wimbledon’s finest physical specimens leaping about in the sunshine have got Baby thinking about hitting the gym. But the world of fitness, like dating, is cruel and unforgiving. The vast majority of gym advertising features hordes of aspirationally lean and well-muscled bodies, confidently using fun-looking equipment whilst looking well-hydrated and smug. However, this is one area of the marketplace which is almost unique in its potential to sell by making consumers feel bad. Here are a few of our favourite guilt-inducing, hilariously controversial gym ads.
We would be jumping in the car to avoid being named and shamed by one of these bus-stop scales, used in the Netherlands to advertise Fitness First.
Not only does this arresting image have us looking at our empty takeaway wrapper with disgust, this ad for Montreal-based Gold’s Gym also provokes us to literally ‘burn’ those empty calories. It doesn’t even need a slogan.
This one originates from our home soil, which it declares will soon be invaded by carnivorous, fat-guzzling aliens. Despite it’s light-hearted intent, it generated an avalanche of criticism.
Conceived in beauty-obsessed Brazil, this unappealing ad works both positively and negatively. On one hand, it forces the consumer to take a frank look at their waistline, but by quantifying each bulging belly as a long-distance run, it tries to suggest that something can be done about obesity.
This ad literally tells you to ‘trim’ the excess, or in this case the elephant, to become a better version of yourself. It does include a small tagline ‘spend more time on you’, but no-one is deluding themselves into thinking this ad is about inner beauty.
Another belter from Gold’s Gym Costa Rica, this series of ads focuses on articles of clothing as the unnamed victims of obesity. The human faces are humourously trying to encourage people to get fit and take some of the pressure off their overworked buttons.