ASA Bans Fat C*n't Ads
Following 11 complaints, the ASA (Advertising Standards Agency) have banned our Fat Can advertising campaign which ran in London earlier this year.
The ASA found that the campaign was likely to cause serious and wide spread offence and that it was not suitable for general placement (essentially may be seen by children).
I accept that children would see the advert however I don't agree that a child would be sophisticated enough to make a connection between our visuals and any word other than CAN'T.
That being said, I can’t deny that we didn’t expect this to be contentious but this is such an important issue that I felt it was justifiable.
A hand full of people said there are better ways of drawing attention to this but I find the words hollow and I don’ think they are credible. I've been running FLAB since 2013 and we are STILL having the same conversations about abuse and attitude.
Someone has to challenge the deeply rooted misconceptions that society has about fat people and the relationship between health and weight and I don’t believe that you can do that without making people stop and think.
By continuously telling fat people that they can’t succeed, are unhealthy, can’t take part in sport etc. you’re limiting their outcomes and preventing them from reaching their true potential.
There is some irony to banning an advert because it alludes to a phrase which might be offensive, when the phrase in question is so frequently used against larger people that it’s now become an accepted social rhetoric.
If people want to get irate about something then surely it should be about an attitude which is so seriously damaging to their fellow man, not a word they might have seen.
Whatever your interpretation of the campaign it highlights the issues which blight the lives of fat people, not least fat shaming which continues to badly affect people’s mental and physical health, self-esteem and ultimately their personal success in a thin world.
Fat remains the last Bastian of the troll as our own social media sadly demonstrates. Some of it is blatant but much of it veiled fatism which I find even more dangerous because it underlies an aversion to and lack of respect for fat people which is counter-productive for the whole of society.
I am disappointed that despite the campaign's success and the many hundreds of positive comments we have received, the ASA have taken this stance and I question whether decisions like this are actually in the best interest of the public.
The Fat Can campaign continues to celebrate the achievements of ordinary fat people and show cases what they can and are doing. It’s a campaign that has something important to say, it’s clever, humorous, positive and colourful and stands out in a world of dull, samey, negative and beige.
What’s worse for society – a poster in which you have to fill the dots, or an attitude which is harming millions of people?
You can read the full ASA ruling here
Agent: Mellor & Smith