‘Muffin top’ ad criticized for insensitivity

The ads that your company creates are open to public criticism. Considering the impact they have can save your company the extra step of having to scrap and redesign costly promotional efforts.

Consider the controversial "muffin top" billboard used to advertise the Michigan-based Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery. This practice placed tiny models of muffins on an ad meant to encourage possible customers to think about plastic surgery in a cutesy and humorous way and promote their business.

But instead of the light tone intended by the practice, the result was seen as "body negative" and offensive by locals online, with several commenters on the organization's Facebook page expressing outrage over the insensitivity. Some of the comments also pointed out a potential case of plagiarism, as the images in the ad matched those of a product sold by the retailer Fred and Friends.

The ads were even criticized in real life in purple spray paint, as vandals crossed out the words and doctored the ad to make its message more positive. In response, the company agreed to take down the ads and replace them with something else.

Mlive's report on this story noted that the same business has also drawn negative comments in the past for a different ad featuring the slogan "Size Matters." This ad was also cited as being tasteless, and seems to have set a pattern when it comes to this practice's public image.

It can be difficult to respond to this kind of criticism without new, custom made signs to fill the void and take the place of the offending pieces. Vinyl signs can be easier to replace than giant billboards.