Reid challenges beach body ad boss
Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid has criticised the "beach body ready" campaign for being "anxiety-inducing" as its marketing chief said the company had received a bomb threat.
The advert, for protein shakes, features a model posing in a bikini and asks "Are you beach body ready?"
Many of the posters, which appear in London Underground stations, have been defaced and a petition calling for their removal has gathered tens of thousands of signatures.
Richard Staveley, head of global marketing for Protein World, said the tag "beach body ready" was simply asking women if they had obtained their goals.
Reid asked him: "What if my only goal is to be on a beach?"
Mr Staveley denied that the image of the model had been altered and replied: "Our own aspirations are to make the nation healthier, to ask each one of us to set our sights higher, to be fitter, to be healthier."
Asked about the view that the advert suggests women cannot go on the beach in a bikini unless they look like the model in the advert, he said: "There is an irrational minority who have decided to interpret it in that way."
Reid asked him: "Do you think everybody who objects to it is irrational?... Am I irrational for finding that advert a little bit anxiety-inducing? Am I an irrational extremist?"
She said it was unfortunate that "your own company" branded critics "irrational extremists".
Mr Staveley replied: "We've been inundated ... with people defacing adverts, ripping them down, climbing over rail tracks in order to graffiti them ... I think that's quite extreme behaviour.
"We've had threats on our head office, physical and violent threats. We had a bomb threat ... that's been reported to the police and I can't comment any further on that. It's currently being investigated."
He told the ITV show: "We're always going to be learning and going to listen to all sides of the story."
But he added: "It's been a brilliant campaign for us and I don't see us changing anything dramatically any time soon."
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it has received 216 complaints about the advert and is "carefully assessing " the complaints to "establish if there are grounds for further action".
Meanwhile, Katie Hopkins came to its defence, tweeting : "Chubsters, quit vandalising Protein World ads and get your arse running on the road. Feminism isn't an excuse for being fat. Eat less, move more."
Beat, the charity that supports people with eating disorders, criticised the campaign, calling it " one more example of how we are subjected daily to what we are expected to accept and aspire to as the 'body ideal'".
"The message it's promoting is implicit - 'if you don't look like this, don't go on the beach' - and is probably why it's touched a nerve for so many people.
"We had hoped that this type of campaign was becoming a thing of the past and that more relevant and representational marketing was beginning to become the norm.
"It's encouraging to see that so many people have voiced their concerns and hope that their reaction serves to inform future marketing initiatives that are more inclusive."