Ad description

Two ads for a protein supplement, seen in May 2017:

a. A poster ad, seen on London Underground, featured a woman wearing workout gear, in particular a cropped bra top and leggings. A headline stated "THINK SMALL. V24 SHOT. The NEW way to take Protein". The ad featured an image of the product, and adjacent to that was a dotted line from the top to the bottom of the bottle and text stating "3.5 inches". Text below stated "24 grams of protein. Fat Free. Sugar Free. Dairy Free. Gluten Free. No refrigeration needed. Delicious Apple flavour".

b. An ad on Twitter featured an image of ad (a) with text stating "We are now live in the London underground. Make sure to look out for us over the coming weeks. #ThinkSmall".


Four complainants, who believed the text "THINK SMALL" referred to a woman's body size aspirations, challenged whether the ads were irresponsible because they promoted an unhealthy body image.


Protein Revolution Ltd explained that the V24 shot was a 60 ml bottle containing 24g of protein. They said 60 ml was considered a "shot", as the name suggested, and therefore was considered small in the context of most protein product drinks. For example, they understood that many protein powders needed to be mixed with up to 500 ml of liquid. They believed the "Think Small" was a clear reference to the size of the product, whilst also being a playful twist on the traditional notion of people being told to "think big" or have big ideas.

They explained that the model featured in the ad was a yoga teacher and was fit and healthy.

For those reasons, they did not believe the ads were irresponsible.


Not upheld

The ASA noted that the "Think Small" headline appeared next to a large image of the product and a graphic showing that the product was 3.5 inches (c. 9 cm) in height. We considered that because of that, and the text stating "The new way to take protein", consumers were likely to interpret the "Think Small" reference to be about the size of the product, which was smaller than many of the other protein products on the market. We also considered that the model featured in the ad was a healthy size. We therefore concluded that the ads did not promote an unhealthy body image and were not irresponsible.

We investigated ads (a) and (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule  1.3 1.3 Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.  (Social responsibility), but did not find them in breach.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)


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