When COVID-19 erupted into a pandemic that swept the world last year, communities were mandated by their governments early on to enter into a state of lockdown. People kept to the insides of their residences, travel was regulated within cities and towns, and for a time restricted between communities. That meant a lot of people were stuck in their homes with little to do until the vaccines began to roll out. It has been said that being cooped up for so long can get someone a bit out of physical fitness, something the Belo Medical Group hoped to address in a recent advertisement. But the presentation left a sour taste.
Inquirer.net reports that the Belo Medical Group has pulled their commercial short film “The Pandemic Effect” after a deluge of negative online impressions about it, followed up with an official apology this Wednesday, August 11. The short film ad depicts a beautiful woman confined to her home at the start of the pandemic, and over the following months, her increasing despair at the COVID-related news on TV causes her to gain “eye-bags,” pimples, rapid growth of facial and body hair, and a massive beer belly. The taglines say: “Tough times call for beautiful measures” and “It’s not you, it’s the pandemic,” but critical netizens disagree.
When social media exploded with indignation, calling “The Pandemic Effect” things like “distasteful and ignorant,” and characteristic of “capitalist exploitation of the beauty standards of society,” the Belo Clinic thanks the complainers for making their thoughts known and apologized for any hurt feelings. “We hear you. You helped us see what we failed to see, which is that the film is insensitive and upsetting,” read the apology posted on BMG’s official Facebook page. “Because of this, we have taken the ad down.” The beauty clinic group also stated its commitment to learn from this debacle carry it to the future.
More in-depth online criticism of the Belo Medical Group’s now-discontinued ad campaign pointed out that the commercial character’s exaggerated going out of shape made too light of people with real health issues similar to the woman depicted. Another angle of attack emphasized that rather than loss of physical form and beauty, the real effect of being confined to homes during pandemic quarantines were the loss of jobs and livelihoods, while also downplaying the real tragedy that COVID is deadly and has already killed so many.
Image courtesy of Manila Bulletin