Recently, Allahpundit wrote about the progressive freakout over a couple of commercials by fitness company Protein World (which were banned in Britain) because they showed attractive, fit people in swimwear and asked viewers if they were “beach bod ready.” The calls from the left to bring down the company for sinful microaggressions or whatever it was were deafening. This led AP to ponder the following question:

We’ve reached an odd moment culturally when leftists in the government hector us to lose weight and avoid the health risks from obesity while leftists outside the government hector us to stop “body-shaming” and accept that people come in all shapes and sizes. Can’t wait to find out who wins!

Well, AP, wait no longer. We have a winner. As David French reports, rather than backing down to the howls of outrage from the social justice front, Protein World doubled down and basically told them where to shove it.

But then an astonishing thing happened: the company not only stood up to the [social justice warriors], but got on the front foot and mercilessly baited them on Twitter, in the process creating the now-infamous hashtag #growupharriet.

The company’s customers – surprisingly they are 84 per cent female, proving this wasn’t your standard man v feminist toe-to-toe – became feverish brand champions.

Truthfully, even if the only thing that Protein World had managed to do was to get a hash tag for “Grow up, Harriett” trending, that would have been reason enough for a breaking news alert. But the company found that their customer base was loyal and vocal. And that led to pretty much the exact opposite result from what the outrageously outraged protesters were hoping.

[Protein World] has turned a £250,000 media spend into a viral phenomenon. It has made a little known brand a household name in the circles it cares about. It has reaped £1million in direct sales revenue . . . Protein World has paid a price, of course – it is now also hated, a claim that few brands can make nor would want to.

It is, however, a calculated hatred, as those people out there who disapprove of Protein World’s brand of vanity-oriented self improvement are pretty unlikely to be purchasing its products anyway.

Given the company’s size, that’s a gigantic spike in sales in a very short period of time. If even half of the new customers they attracted turn into regular buyers, their brand has just expanded in a way that most companies can only dream of. But the benefits went well beyond direct sales. Protein World may have invested roughly $370K into their initial ad campaign, but the social media explosion and subsequent news coverage added up to free, earned media advertising which multiplied the effect many times over. And who was responsible for this tremendous boon? The people whining about their advertisements in the first place.

Professional progressive protesters should decide which side they’re on. Do they think that Americans are indolent, lazy, fat slobs who need to take better care of themselves or do they want everyone to let it all hang out and not be “shamed” by an advertisement for health products? You really can’t have it both ways. And if your outrage of the day becomes too ridiculous, it just may backfire on you.