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Belo Medical Group apologizes, takes down ‘insensitive and upsetting’ #PandemicEffect ad after drawing criticism

By Hannah Mallorca Published Aug 11, 2021 12:58 pm Updated Aug 12, 2021 10:03 am

The Belo Medical group has taken down an ad that, hours after posting it online, scandalized netizens for how it portrayed the challenges of coping with the deadly pandemic.

The ad titled “Pandemic Effect” was uploaded yesterday night, August 11, on the Belo Group’s social media accounts and portrayed the physical transformation of a woman while seemingly being stressed out from the news about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the woman sat on the sofa watching news about the pandemic, she then took on weight, grew hair on her face and armpits, and had eyebags and pimples.

The advertisement then ended with the tagline, “tough times call for beautiful measures” and a call to book a consultation with Belo. 

Belo Medical Group's "Pandemic Effect" ad drew heavy criticism online. Screengrab from Belo Medical Group’s now-deleted “Pandemic Effect” ad

The ad immediately drew heavy criticism from netizens for how it made light of a situation where a number of people lost loved ones and went through harrowing medical and financial challenges.

Some also said it was insensitive for people with body issues and seemingly promoting body dysmorphia. 

Despite the controversial advertisement being taken down, netizens have re-uploaded it on social media. 

In a statement posted on its social media accounts, the Belo Medical Group acknowledged the negative feedback their ad received online.

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“We hear you. You helped us see what we failed to see, which is that the film is insensitive and upsetting. Because of this, we have taken the ad down,” the statement read.

Gigil, the agency behind the ad, issued a statement of apology late Monday, Aug. 11.

“Yesterday, the Belo Medical Group posted a film that we created which caused distress to a considerable number of people. We were insensitive. We are sorry to the people whom we hurt,” Gigil said.

“Gigil shares responsibility for the film. We will learn from this, and we will do better.”

(Banner and thumbnail photo: Screengrab from Belo Medical Group’s now-deleted “Pandemic Effect” ad)