‘Body shaming’ ad draws scorn for Victoria laser clinic

Alice Bracegirdle was driving to pick up her daughter from high school when her car pulled up behind a bus.

The back of the bus was emblazoned with a large ad from a local laser clinic for a weight-loss procedure to treat “mom bod,” “pooch abdomen” and “muffin top.”

“Goodbye Fat. Hello Coolsculpting. Love ya, Cosmedica,” the advertisement from Cosmedica: The Art of Dermatology read.

“It was just so obviously body-shaming, right in my face,” Bracegirdle told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

“They were saying, you know your mom-bod is not okay, and so you should get this procedure to take care of that,” she said.

Alice Bracegirdle

Alice Bracegirdle criticized the cosmetic surgery clinic that sponsored what she calls a “body-shaming” ad for a weight-loss procedure on the back of a Victoria bus. (Centric Photography)

Bracegirdle, who is founder and CEO of a dance-inspired fitness company called Bellyfit, said she knows from her work how damaging messages like these are to a woman’s self-worth.

“It really struck me at a really deep level and it was a very physical reaction. I just felt somebody had to say something about it.”

Bracegirdle did say something about it: on Facebook.

The response from over 100 people in the first day stunned her and prompted an apology from the company behind the ads.

Facebook: Alice Bracegirdle


At first the company defended the ads in an attempt by the ad writers to “be playful with words.”

“However, if the words chosen are suggesting the wrong message, we will honor such concerns and revisit this campaign immediately. We hear you,” the company posted.

When that message generated further criticism, Cosmedica backed away from the ad campaign completely.

Facebook: Cosmedica apology


“We now have assurance all bus ads will be down before week’s end, as quickly as bus schedules can be managed,” a statement posted Monday said.

“Bus shelter ads are already being taken down. All other campaign marketing materials have ceased.”

Cosmedica offered “our deepest, most sincere apologies.”

Cosmedica publicist Adele Chan said in an interview, “We do not want to shame anybody and we want to learn from this experience and choose the correct words that will bring out the positive.”

Meanwhile Bracegirdle says she usually avoids conflict, but that “this whole thing has given me some hope.”

With files from CBC Radio One’s All Points West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: ‘Body-shaming’ ad draws scorn for laser clinic

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