Gold’s Gym finds itself in a highly undesirable PR situation this week.
One of the gym chain’s franchisees in Egypt posted a social media post that was seen worldwide. The post featured a photo of a pear and the phrase “This is no shape for a girl.”
Gold’s Gym acted quickly to apologize, explaining that it terminated its franchisee agreement with this particular location because of the content of the ad. Unfortunately, the image continues to circulate, and many think it’s official marketing for the gym. And the public’s response has been nothing less than furious.
Bold and even provocative advertising is nothing new when it comes to gym marketing. We’ve certainly seen it with Equinox, whose portrayals of seemingly unattainable bodies infuriate consumers who don’t think shaming is the right way to make a sale.
But it does get sales. And chances are, Gold’s Gym’s franchisee in Egypt was aware of that as they used an incredibly harsh body shaming statement to catch attention and guilt customers into considering a gym. They probably just didn’t expect the extent of the backlash they got… including termination from the Gold’s Gym franchise.
It’s undesirable, but we’re taking our hats off to Gold’s Gym for prioritizing their principles in the way they’ve handled the situation. They chose to cut ties with their franchisee in favor of standing by their values, clearly differentiating themselves from the negative body image messaging.
“For years we have been dedicated to helping people feel empowered by fitness, not intimidated or ashamed by it,” the company stated on their Facebook page. “We believe that strength comes in many forms … be it physical, mental or emotional … and that our purpose (and rallying cry) is to help people Know Their Own Strength.”
Applause. Because gym memberships shouldn’t be sold at the expense of making people feel bad about the way they look.