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Complaint upheld against gym over 'epileptic fit' ad

Epilepsy Ireland said the Facebook ad had caused upset and hurt to people with epilepsy and their families.

File photo (not the ad)
File photo (not the ad)
Image: Shutterstock/Iakov Filimonov

A COMPLAINT HAS been upheld against a gym over an advertisement that said: “You don’t need to look like you are having an epileptic fit to get in shape.”

The Facebook ad showed a group of women who were raising their arms and legs.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) received complaints about Airside Bootcamp’s ad from consumers and Epilepsy Ireland.

The latter said it considered the advertisers were likening the involuntary leg and arm movements that were features of a typical tonic-clonic seizure to the movements of a physical workout.

They said the imagery used alongside the wording had caused upset, great offence and hurt to people with epilepsy and their families. They stated that people who lived with the difficulties of epilepsy did not deserve to have their disability trivialised in the manner portrayed by the advertisers.

No response 

All consumer complainants considered the advertisement to be offensive and insensitive to those who live with epilepsy.

Airside Bootcamp, of Swords, Co Dublin, did not respond to the complaint.

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The ASAI found that the ad was in breach of its code and reminded the gym there is an onus on companies to ensure their advertising conforms with regulations.

The committee ruled that the advertisement should not be used in its current format again.

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Órla Ryan

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