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Sorry seems to be the hardest word…

Sorry seems to be the hardest word…

A local gym’s timely and appropriate damage control has Kipp quite impressed...

January 11, 2012 1:41 by

Kipp’s been following the story of a rather offensive ad (following recent international attention on a questionable Chinese restaurant ad from Dubai) which was retracted with ‘we weren’t trying to be offensive’ kind of attitude (surprise, surprise) but later substantiated their apology by way of a charitable gesture (what a surprise!—really!).

The Circuit Factory in Al Quoz was the centre of much controversy in the online realm when 10 images were uploaded on January 2nd as part of a new ad campaign. The pictures included one rather famous photograph of Auschwitz with “Kiss your calories goodbye”—because the gym was ‘a calorie concentration camp’ according to the founder of the gym. Calorie concentration camp, get it?

The Circuit Factory was bombarded with angry tweets within hours of the posting. Some of the images have since been taken down. Kipp didn’t get a chance to have a look at the pictures, but as The National will tell you: “One was a poster depicting a toilet full of faeces, accompanied by the word “bootcamps”. The second showed men doing press-ups, with the caption: “Saving Dubai from s**t like this”. The third was a poster of four scantily dressed women that proclaimed: “Are you a fat s**g? Just be a s**g.”

Phil Parkinson, the founder of the Circuit Factory’s Facebook group was quick to apologise: “I apologise if I have offended anyone with the campaign. That was certainly not my intention when we created it. You put strong ideas across, and if they’ve been poorly received then I apologise.”

A prompt apology is rather impressive, especially considering facing crisis head on and so openly is not common sight. Not to name names, but Kipp has yet to see any kind of formal acknowledgement, explanation or apology for DDB and China Times over their somewhat racist ad that has been making the rounds on the Internet for a good three weeks now.

But Phil Parkinson and The Circuit Factory took the apology one step further when he announced plans to donate the weekend proceedings from fitness class to go to a UK-based Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association. In an email to The National Parkinson said: “At the moment I just have the name [of the charity], so I’ve emailed them – they’ll definitely receive donations, so tomorrow I will make the payment of $1,061 (Dh3,900).”

How is that for damage control? As far as Kipp is concerned a lot of businesses and customer service departments here in the emirates can take a leaf or two out of The Circuit Factory’s book, at least the part about swift post-crisis action.

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  1. Saleh Alshunnar on January 12, 2012 6:44 am

    it is unfortunate that he did not donate to a local charity, as the “offensive” posters were posted locally

  2. Karin on January 12, 2012 9:36 am

    Unbelievable! To give this guy credit for his post-crisis action? He doesnt deserve any good word from anyone, he didnt apologize at all, he said: thats the way branding works, to make people talk about your business.

    Being a person working in branding, I’m highly offended he has used my industry as an excuse to act immorally, inhumane and irresponsibly.

    There is never any justification to sacrifice moral standards and principles and it’s shocking he ever thought there was.

    He fired the creative person, but isnt he the owner of the gym and therefore responsible? It’s sad he is pointing fingers at a time where he should have a good look in the mirror.

    I did see the ad and discussed it extensively with my friends; we will never ever set foot at The Circuit Factory, ever!


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