Gym ad branded 'most sexist in Germany' uses bad press for good cause

Lucinda Watts
Lucinda Watts - [email protected]
Gym ad branded 'most sexist in Germany' uses bad press for good cause
Controversial advert from Fitness & Friends. Photo: Fitness & Friend

Despite their "Hot, Hot, Baby" advert being named the most sexist campaign in Germany, a Hamburg gym aren't worried. They've used the attention to help out a colleague, they tell The Local.


The advert in question depicts a woman seductively eating a rather suspicious-looking ice-lolly, teamed with the words “Heiss, Heiss, Baby” meaning “Hot, Hot, Baby”. You’d be forgiven for not immediately working out what this advert is trying to promote. Which is why the gym Fitness & Friends” has received so much negative attention since its ad campaign was released last year.

The ad was part of the fitness club's summer campaign for last year. On Facebook the gym puts the advert in context by explaining that after a visit to the sauna "there is delicious and healthy ice cream available in the cafe."
The campaign included many suggestive pictures and slogans, including one with five young women and the slogan "Wir tun es ständig" meaning "we do it all the time."

Photo: Fitness & Friends

The crowning glory for this controversial ad was being voted most sexist advert in Germany for 2017 at the beginning of September, as part of women's rights organization Terre Des Femmes' yearly competition.

“Der Zornige Kaktus” or the “Angry Cactus” award is given out by the women’s rights organisation to try and name and shame sexist retailers for objectifying women in their campaigns.

Maja Wegener, a Terre Des Femmes activist, told the Hamburger Morgenpost the ad was "frightening” and that “through such adverts, images of women are cemented, what we have been trying to get rid of for years”.

The jury for the prize said that the woman in the advert in question was being reduced to a sex-object in an imitation of porn, and it was for this reason that the advert was chosen for the award.

But gym manager Nico Herzog isn't deterred by the prize.

Speaking to The Local on Friday, Herzog maintained that the campaign is not sexist, as the picture in question was "only one picture from an overall campaign which portrayed both men and women."

"We wanted to provoke with the campaign and it has helped us to be featured in the media very many times," he said.

Furthermore the media attention enabled Fitness & Friends to raise almost €50,000 for the #makemichimove fundraising campaign, in aid of a colleague who was left needing extensive physical therapy after an accident, Herzog pointed out.


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