The company’s weight-loss advert, featuring a bikini-clad model with the tagline ‘Are You Beach Body Ready?’, appeared throughout London Under-ground.
The ads were slammed on social media by body image campaigners and feminists for being sexist. Women began vandalising the posters on the Tube with sarcastic responses and body positivity messages.
A petition was then set up by 19-year-old Charlotte Baring to have the posters removed. It was signed by more than 44,000 people within days and a protest was organised to take place in London’s Hyde Park.
However, the way Protein World responded to the furore was the most disappointing. The company retweeted anti-feminist messages such as "need to put feminists in their place" and "screw those bitches". CEO Arjun Seth replied to critics saying they had "insecurities" and should "grow up".
Worst of all, when The Sun columnist Katie Hopkins joined the row, calling critics "chubsters" and tweeting "feminism isn’t an excuse for being fat", Protein World’s head of marketing Richard Staveley said: "If Katie Hopkins is in agreement with us we are delighted."
The Advertising Standards Authority has now banned the ad in its current form, citing "concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims".