Feminist attack on Protein World backfires

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Nothing is more amusing that a screeching mob of radical feminists when they emerge from their lair in that liquidy out-house that is Tumblr, in a aura of patchouli with armpit hair braided for war.

The newest object of their Two Minute Hate is a diet supplement company called Protein World (full disclosure, I do not now and have never used dietary supplements). Why, you ask, would anyone object to a supplement that helps you lose weight, etc., etc.? The answer is easy, no normal person would object. But the feminists the world is an oppressive place. Rape is everywhere. And the freakin patricarchy, man… you wouldn’t believe the patriarchy. And this ad campaign is solely responsible for keeping women down.

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Naturally, the hairy little fascists attacked. For instance:


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At this point, most companies would fold like a cheap suit. Protein World elected to take another approach:
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or this to a self-hating male who had to weigh in to impress someone who hates him:
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Now to the punchline, via Marketing Magazine

The past four days have seen one of the most effective and innovative pieces of brand marketing in living memory. It has bred “brand fans” by the thousand in an age where that term is sorely overused, and exploded the brand’s social following.

It has turned a £250,000 media spend into a viral phenomenon. It has made a little known brand a household name in the circles it cares about. It has reaped £1million in direct sales revenue.

But the lesson here is one that the GOP would do well to remember.

Protein World has paid a price, of course – it is now also hated, a claim that few brands can make nor would want to.

It is, however, a calculated hatred, as those people out there who disapprove of Protein World’s brand of vanity-oriented self improvement are pretty unlikely to be purchasing its products anyway.

In a world where brands are still living with a 20th century mindset of trying to be all things to all people, having particular character and meaning is an increasingly valuable commodity.

Protein World has shown a way to develop that with a stick of dynamite, and the same approach is there for the taking for brands across the ‘values spectrum’.

If you sit at the pole of a vaguely polarising issue, identify your ‘anti-market’ and attack it.

If possible, harness the trend of ‘cyber shaming’ and use it to your advantage. This approach will work particularly well for brands whose position hovers around the libertarian/conservative side of politics, as their ‘anti-markets’ are much better mobilised socially and capable of feeding those precious flames of scandal.

You’ll lose no customers and become a champion for those who share your side of the issue.

These are the polarising brands – strong stomachs, the capacity to be hated, and a pretty robust set of community managers. Expect to see more of them.

Too often GOP political figures ignore their base, their core customers, in pursuit of people who will always hate them. There is nothing more pathetic than a GOP politician pandering to people who are laughing in their sleeves at him. Here I’m talking about a guy like Jeb Bush who thinks the path to the White House requires him to “lose the primaries.” Stick to your principles and you have a large and enthusiastic base to build from. Abandon those principles and you lose your core supporters and get laughed at by the people you are trying to win.