A gym chain in the UK has come under fire after posting a giant billboard ad stating fat people will be the first to be abducted by aliens.

Fit4less plastered the 6m-high poster on the side of a building, and it was spotted by an anti-bullying campaigner who has accused the gym of "fat-shaming".

Featuring an alien and a person being beamed up into a spaceship, the ad's caption reads: "They're coming ... and when they arrive they'll take the FAT ones first!"

British parliamentary adviser Natalie Harvey, who founded an anti-bullying charity, told The Sun: "Just this week alone I've had three cases of bullying due to weight issues and I feel campaigns like this aid bullying.


Harvey said she was incredulous to see the ad. "It's 2016, this sort of fat-shaming humour is offensive."

She voiced concern over the effect such a message could have on children and called for the poster to be removed and "replaced with something more tasteful to attract the gym goers."

READ MORE: • Do you think this ad is racist?

Despite Harvey's position and pressure to remove the ad from the store where the poster resides, the gym isn't coming to the party.

Jan Spaticchia, chief executive of the gym's parent company Energie Group, said: "The aliens campaign is actually very successful.

"We aim to get people talking and promote the notion of a healthy lifestyle.

"We don't take ourselves too seriously. I'm a 45-year-old man who is 17.5 stone and proud of it but I'm healthy with it."

He said while the company didn't mean to cause offence they also believe they can reach more people if they take a less serious approach.

"We need to be willing to poke fun at ourselves and our messaging is designed to do exactly that.

"We have found that by taking a lighthearted approach we can connect with more people who would enjoy what we have to offer. It's a little harmless fun."

- nzherald.co.nz