Advertising watchdog investigating 'beach body ready?' poster

The ad has been criticised for encouraging women to skip meals in place of a protein shake.

A formal investigation has been launched into the "beach body ready" campaign by the advertising watchdog, which has banned it from appearing again in its current form.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had launched an investigation to establish if the ad for Protein World breaks harm and offence rules or is socially irresponsible.

The advert, for protein shakes, features a model posing in a bikini and asks "Are you beach body ready?"

Many of the posters, which appear in London Underground stations, have been defaced and a petition calling for their removal has gathered tens of thousands of signatures.

The ASA has received 360 complaints to date about the campaign.

Richard Staveley, head of global marketing for Protein World, told ITV's Good Morning Britain yesterday that the tag "beach body ready" was simply asking women if they had obtained their goals.

He revealed that the company had received a bomb threat following the launch of the ad.