06 October 2020 14:37
You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, we're talking about PureGym's Black History Month slavery-inspired workout. Statistically 'the UK's favourite gym,' PureGym has found itself in a less-favourable position after a personal trainer posted an ill-judged '12 Years of Slave' workout routine at its Luton & Dunstable franchise. Beyond removing the post, PureGym has been desperately working to iron out the ensuing bad press, apologising 'unreservedly' for the distastefully named workout. The now-deleted post in question appeared on PureGym Luton & Dunstable's social media channels advertising its 'workout of the month' as a Black History Month special.
Entitled '12YearsOfSlave' the post even admits it is named after 'that epic movie'. Directed by Steve McQueen, the film was based on a memoir written by Solomon Northup, a Black man who was born free in New York and sold into slavery in the Deep South. Likening the workout to the Atlantic slave trade, the post read: 'slavery was hard and so is this.' After PureGym was met with a swift backlash online, it was quick to apologise for"the inappropriate post on the Luton & Dunstable gym social media channels." The post highlighted the fact that it"was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed when it was brought to our attention." Official statement from PureGym regarding an inappropriate post on the Luton & Dunstable gym social media channels. pic.twitter.com/c91xwHIogk — PureGym (@PureGym) October 5, 2020 Beyond angry gym-goers cancelling their memberships, the post has been criticised by GB Olympic medallist Dina Asher-Smith, a PureGym ambassador, sharing her disbelief that"somebody thought this was okay." Comic Munya Chawawa has also responded to the debacle. In a post entitled 'PureGym announce their new Black Black Month facilities' he swiftly held the gym to account.
'There's tone-deaf, then there's utter madness' – industry reacts to PureGym 'slave' promo The PR industry is appalled by a PureGym branch promotion that linked Black History Month with a new workout. Professionals warn that while the workout may claim to be 'hard', repairing PureGym's reputation will be much tougher. by Arvind Hickman