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New Protein World Ad Campaign Elicits Body Shaming Backlash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some are complaining that a new billboard ad is sending the wrong message.

As CBS2's Emily Smith reported, beach body ready means different things to different people.

That may be why the new advertising campaign by Protein World has stirred so much controversy that it had to be taken down in London. Yet it's making its debut in Times Square.

Protein World put up the ad, claiming its nutrition supplements can help you look like the bikini clad model.

So what seems most controversial about it? The question "Are you beach body ready?" that accompanies the ad, Smith reported.

"I mean, I guess it is offensive in general," said one woman.

"I don't think you need to have that body," said another woman.

In Britain, vandals attacked the ad, altering it to say "every 'body' is ready," Smith reported.

And there was more protest on social media.

"Body shaming ads are a toxic pollution. U.S. should follow London's lead," said one tweet.

"Hats off to everyone who's doing a fantastic job challenging #bodyshaming and #mentalhealthshaming! #everybodysready #beachbodyready," another tweet said.

Protein World didn't respond to CBS2's request for comment, but had posted on Twitter in response to the backlash.

"Shaming an ad and body for being healthy is body shaming. If you're offended by this ad, you're part of the problem," the company tweeted.

Dr. Alexis Conason focuses on body image in her psychology practice and said if anyone's priorities are out of whack, it's Protein World.

"I think that it affects all of us whether we realize it or not because these messages are so prevalent and they're so strong, coming at us from every direction," she said.

Dr. Conason said while an ad like this hits those harder who already aren't feeling good about themselves, she has to remind people daily to accept yourself the way you are; all you need is a body, a bathingsuit, and a beach to be beach body ready.

The ad will also appear in New York City subways starting this week.

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