A poster and digital outdoor ad for Protein World, seen in February 2017:
a. The poster was seen on the London Underground network and featured Khloe Kardashian in a swimsuit with text that stated “Can You Keep Up with a KARDASHIAN?”. Text further stated “Take the protein world 30 Day Challenge”.
b. The digital outdoor ad featured the same text and image as ad (a).
Fourteen complainants, who believed the ads promoted an unhealthy and competitive approach to dieting, objected that the ads were socially irresponsible.
Protein World Ltd said the overall response they had received to the ad was that it was motivating and empowering, and they did not believe it was socially irresponsible. They said they submitted the ad in advance to CAP Copy Advice who had advised that the ad was unlikely to breach the Code, and they understood TfL were also satisfied the ad complied with their own regulations.
Exterion Media said the ad was reviewed internally by their Copy Approval team and also submitted to CAP prior to display. To date they had received one complaint regarding the display of the ad via TfL.
The ASA understood that the Copy Advice team had seen the ads prior to them appearing and advised that they were likely to be acceptable.
We considered that the ads promoted Khloe Kardashian’s body image as desirable and aspirational; this was supported by her pose and the airbrushed style. However, we did not consider that she appeared to be out of proportion or unhealthy.
We considered that people would understand the phrase “Can you keep up with a Kardashian?” was double entendre; to be understood as referencing both the popular TV series “Keeping up with the Kardashians” which Khloe Kardashian appeared in and the use of Protein World’s products to achieve a desirable body image. We further considered that readers would regard “Take the 30 Day Challenge” read in conjunction with the former phrase and the product name "The Slender Blend" to mean that if they used Protein World’s products and followed the "challenge" regime they could lose weight.
We acknowledged that the use of the terms “Can you keep up with …” and “challenge” could be interpreted as having a competitive quality, but we did not consider that the terms or the ads overall encouraged excessive weight loss or other extreme or potentially harmful dieting behaviour. We therefore concluded the ads were not socially irresponsible.
We investigated the ads 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.