A gym advertisement which tells customers to “get hot and sweaty with a teacher” has been criticised online for its “creepy and disappointing” message.
Gymbox, a London-based fitness company, is behind the divisive campaign which suggests members get intimate with “very personal trainers without getting punished”.
A photograph of the latest banner was shared by Twitter user @teaforpterosaur, alongside the caption: “Gymbox, can you f***ing not”.
“It’s so creepy and disappointing,” she added. “If I were working there, I would feel like that gave men license to try it on while I’m trying to work.”
The tweet soon garnered over 160 favourites with fellow social media users also calling out the brand for its controversial message.
One replied, “How do a group of people sit around table, look at that poster sample and think, ‘yep, that’s ready to go to print!’”
“And ‘very personal trainers’. Blimey,” another wrote. “How sex pesty can you make it sound...”
In the advertisement, Gymbox also included an image of a ruler which led some Twitter users to grow concerned about its potential promotion of student-teacher relationships.
“This is not ok Gymbox, you’re leaving PTs open to sexual harassment and glamorising it,” one Twitter user pointed out. “Also, the image of a ruler links it to school!”
But the fitness giant stands by the campaign’s message with the firm belief that it was only ever designed to be “light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek”.
“Our adverts are intended to be light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek. As the original challenger gym in the industry, we offer something different to traditional gym experiences through our fantastic range of unique classes, and VPT sessions and our ads promote this in a playful way,” marketing director, Rory McEntee, told Yahoo UK.
“Naturally you will get hot and sweaty in classes such as Hardcore, Ripped & Stripped, Sexhale or Sweat to the Beat. Our members have fed back that they find our adverts amusing, probably because they have a sense of humour.”
Although it’s not the first time Gymbox has missed the mark when it comes to its advertising campaigns.
In January 2018, the gym came under fire for its “punish yourself buff” campaign.
Actress Carrie Fletcher, 26, took to Instagram to highlight the dangers of the ad.
“I should never be made to feel like I have to ‘punish’ myself into being something different. Being bigger or less ‘buff’ than those around me isn’t a punishable offence,” she wrote.
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“It’s not an offence, full stop. Exercising regularly should be something you do because you love your body and you want to care for and nurture it. It should be about self care. Not punishment.”