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Catching Up With Ross Edgley And Laura Keir From The Protein Works To Learn More About The #HATEONTHIS Campaign

THE PROTEIN WORKS and Cybersmile have teamed up for the #HATEONTHIS campaign which runs for the month of January and aims to promote a supportive and encouraging online community. Ross Edgley broke all records in 2018, becoming the first person to swim round Great Britain. In just over 150 days, without touching land, without aid, or a day off sick, Ross completed his mammoth goal, but it wasn't without having to overcome a fair share of doubters and critics - however, in the end Ross and a social collective of likeminded people demonstrated the power of belief and positivity. If you are affected by any kind of online abuse, follow the links throughout this article to our various support services.

It is fantastic that THE PROTEIN WORKS are committed to a more inclusive and inspiring online community with the #HATEONTHIS campaign, tell us more about the campaign and why it is so important to your company (Laura)?

THE PROTEIN WORKS has always stood for innovation. When we launched 6 years ago it wasn’t really supposed to be possible for a start-up sports nutrition company to take on the big boys. So we’ve always loved being the underdog, and we’ve been proud of it too! 6 years on, countless nutritional innovations launched, over one million orders shipped and we’re still not taking anything for granted.

For us it’s always about going against the grain to improve all areas of our business and our customers’ experience, believing in the impossible and staying positive. Those three values are at our core, within our team and within our community. The #HATEONTHIS campaign is really important and to be honest, it’s really personal to us too because it embodies a mission we’ve been on since launch – to challenge the status quo, to silence non-believers with a smile, and to not ask permission to attempt any goal – however big or small it is perceived.

But, #HATEONTHIS specifically takes this mission to the next level because we’re using our voice and reach and engaging our community to make a difference to the online environment. Why? Well we’ve noticed in the last year, on social media in general, but specifically within the health and fitness sector that the undercurrent of negativity, naysayers and haters is getting a little too much airtime. People hating on goal setting, trying to tear down the achievements of others, body shaming and doubt seeding is creeping in to our community, our own posts and the post of anyone who’s trying to better themselves – and that’s firmly going against what we stand for and why we launched.

When we talked with the team at The Cybersmile Foundation and found that around 40% of internet users say they have personally experienced digital abuse, we felt validated in feeling that this was something we had to get involved with. Enough is Enough.

Ultimately, we know for a fact that these comments can seed doubts, stop you from starting or make us finish early. At their worst, they genuinely hurt.

But we also know, that hate can’t live where positivity breeds. That’s the #HATEONTHIS mantra.

So we’re starting a movement to restore the balance in favour of the positive. Put simply, together we’re going to drown out the trolls. So everywhere you see or you use #HATEONTHIS, know that you’re part of a positivity movement. A community of support for all goals. It’s a little cheeky as a #, and to be honest is meant to produce a confident, wry smile when you use it. For us, no goal, no physical, mental, personal or professional achievement should stay in the shadows, especially as we turn into a new year. It pains us to think that someone doesn’t start or doesn’t finish because there’s someone on the sidelines, not ‘in the arena’ that is judging from their own limitations. On a general scale, if we’d have listened to those judgements when we first launched as a business, well, we wouldn’t be here today. Equally, as individuals in a team and as part of a fitness community we’re well aware of impact those judgements can have. #HATEONTHIS is our foot down on negativity and thumbs up to the possible.

So we’re asking everyone and anyone to use #HATEONTHIS to celebrate what’s important to them and we’ll rally round your battle cry.

You have partnered with Cybersmile for the campaign, what made you choose Cybersmile as your partner for #HATEONTHIS (Laura)? 

It took a long time to do the research on the countless awesome organisations out there combating the challenge of online bullying. But once we found Cybersmile, the decision was an easy one. They’re goal to create a safe online environment is a lofty one – but we don’t team up with anyone who doesn’t have slight scent of the impossible on their radar! Their message is so positive and they work across so many different markets, but hadn’t yet helped in the health and fitness space. The way they approach diversity and inclusivity really rings true with how THE PROTEIN WORKS looks to celebrate every body and our belief that the fitness space is about inclusion and support.

We also wanted to make sure that we walked the talk too. This isn’t a light subject to pick up, and we’re aware of that. There are so many ways to approach it and to try to add the right weight and support to such an challenge that’s impacting us all. But a donation and campaign partnership with Cybersmile felt like the right way for us to enter into this conversation. It’s a way that matches with our values, our brand and ultimately adds inspiration, hope and a rebellious spirit to what is a really sensitive topic.

How do people get involved with the campaign (Laura)?

It’s really important to note that this campaign MATTERS to us, it’s personal. You have faces right from the team at THE PROTEIN WORKS, who are all in support of the message here and feature in our campaign video. For us it was important to walk the talk with this campaign. You’re seeing real people with real stories to share – right from the team. You have marketing, customer service, product development, all coming together to call time on trolls and to show by walking the walk, that hate can’t live where positivity breeds. They’re the brave ones, and we’re so proud as a team and brand to be able to share their creativity and voices in this campaign. They, like all the people we’re looking to reach with this campaign are on the journey, they’ve got stories, they’ve got challenges and they’ve got goals. Most of all, they’re not in the shadows this January. They’re putting themselves out there as a green light to anyone who’s going for it this year – LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER!

To get involved with #HATEONTHIS simply go to any of THE PROTEIN WORKS social channels, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube… all the channels are actively involved. Follow us for updates, new releases and interviews around goal setting, how to deal with cyberbullying, and exclusive interviews. But also, get involved with #HATEONTHIS. it’s a rally cry, an iconic tag of positive intent. Search it on social. See it, support it, share it, celebrate it, use it yourself when you celebrate your achievements. We’ll be right with you – commenting on each and every post we find. No one is being left in the shadows with this campaign!

In 10 words or less, why should anybody reading this interview get involved with the #HATEONTHIS campaign (Laura)?

Because hate can’t live where positivity breeds. Let’s drown out the trolls. (ok that was 12 words :)

What would you say to somebody worried about sharing their fitness journey on social media because of toxicity or abusive comments (Ross)?

I would suggest before sharing your goals and ambitions, make sure you’re sharing them in the right online environment, platform or group. This is because social media exists within these smaller tribes and communities and yes, some of those tribes are inherently toxic and it doesn’t matter how noble and admirable your goals and ambitions, certain people within it will just want to bring you down. But there other just as many tribes that are created by people who collectively want to share stories and support each other. Basically just make sure the environment, platform or group you share your goals and ambitions in is one that supports your fitness journey and if it doesn’t help your fitness journey, don’t use it. Simply understand that you’re in control of your social media, your social media isn’t in control of you.

Have you ever received hate or abuse on social media? If so, how did you deal with it (Ross)?

Yes, absolutely. This year I became the first person to swim 2,000 miles around Great Britain. Many people thought it was impossible and couldn’t be done because of the powerful tides and unpredictable weather that surrounds the British coastline. But some people went even further and on more public platforms (like the social media of news sites) started trolling me saying I was “too short” and “too heavy” and “an idiot for trying”. Dealing with this was of course easy, since I was swimming for 12 hours (20+ miles) a day and so I didn’t have time to read abusive comments and solely concerned my time between swims with eating, resting or doing anything that would help me achieve my goal of swimming around Great Britain.

Do you have a positive mantra that you use to motivate yourself (Ross)?

It’s not a mantra as such, but whenever you see a negative comment I would advise never reply or react when emotionally-charged relying on reflexive reactions rather than logic. Instead try to understand the psychology of a cyber bully. They have time to dwell in the dark corners of social media abusing others. This (again) happened to me during the Great British Swim but the reality was I didn’t have time to read the comments or entertain their abuse since I was too busy swimming with dolphins, witnessing the most incredible sunsets and setting world records. By the time I finished the swim I could barely see a negative comment on social media because the swim had attracted such like-minded positive people each sharing and supporting one another in this community that had formed online.

Do you think social media is a blessing or a curse (Ross)?

Social media can be used to broadcast the very best and the very worst of humanity. Messages of support and encouragement can just as easily be spread as hate and abuse. Ultimately I think it can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you use it and if it’s not conducive to helping your goals for that year then change the way you use it or go out and live your life and chase dolphins, sunsets and adventures outside of the world of social media.

We want to say a HUGE thank you to Ross and Laura for taking the time to talk to us and to everybody at THE PROTEIN WORKS for choosing Cybersmile as your partner for the campaign! For further information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please see the suggestions below. Click here to learn more about the #HATEONTHIS campaign.

What are your thoughts about the #HATEONTHIS campaign? Let us know by contacting us or tweet us @CybersmileHQ.