PureGym have had to apologise for the local Luton & Dunstable gym after a post of a ‘slavery-based’ fitness workout was published on their Facebook page – Five days into Black History Month.
If there was ever a lesson to be learned on cultural sensitivity, this marketing ‘faux pas’ would be it. The intense and insensitive workout was inadvertently promoted on the Luton & Dunstable PureGym Facebook page as ’12 Years Of Slave’. It would seem that the author of the post has leaned upon inspiration from the Oscar-winning 2013 film “12 Years a Slave”. Mistake number one.
Whilst it is obvious that there was no racist intent behind the post, the incident has raised a number of questions around companies and brands attempting to enter the choppy waters of political and social discussions.
Describing both slavery and the work out as ‘hard’, the author of the post goes on to describe the workout. ‘The twist to this is 1 rep of your 1st exercise, 2 of the second but before you move on to the 3rd exercise, which is also 3 reps, you must start at the beginning to move on. AND that’s how the entire workout goes.’
The workout itself consists of 100m sprint, push-ups, box jumps, deadlifts, burpees, and some good old squats thrown in for good measure. Nothing about this can be compared to a day of enforced enslavement. That is where the second mistake lies for PureGym. The author of this post clearly is not a marketing expert. Nothing about the post was written with racist intent. Nothing about the post was written with thought. It was an opportunistic move as the same post had been previously used a year ago by the author at a different location.
The sad thing about this whole car crash is a few hours before posting the advert for the ’12 Years Of Slave’ workout, the Luton & Dunstable gym posted an inspirational message about celebrating Black History.
A statement from PureGym has since apologised for the post, saying that it was a decision made by the local branch. The statement said: “PureGym apologises unreservedly for a post made today by our gym in Luton. This post is wholly unacceptable, was not approved or endorsed by the company and was removed as soon as it was brought to our attention. Each of our 271 gyms has its own social media channels which are run locally. We take this matter extremely seriously and are urgently investigating how and why this post was made.”