Due to its ‘explicit nudity’, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), a self-regulatory body for the advertising industry in the United Kingdom, has banned a series of Adidas sports bra ads. The action was prompted by dozens of complaints received by ASA. According to the complaints, the sportswear behemoth’s Twitter and poster promotional campaign to promote its new line of sports bras objectifies and sexualizes women and was accessible to children.
“We noted the breasts were the main focus in the ads, and there was less emphasis on the bras themselves, which were only referred to in the accompanying text,” the ASA said. “As the ads contained explicit nudity, we considered that they required careful targeting to avoid causing offence to those who viewed them.”
According to the ASA, the large poster locations were not targeted and could be seen by persons of all ages, including children, causing widespread offence. According to the ASA, the use of the commercial on the Adidas Twitter page is not in keeping with the usual content posted and is also likely to offend.
“The ads must not appear again in the complained forms of,” ruled the ASA. “We told Adidas UK to ensure their ads did not cause offense and were targeted responsibly.”
The German sportswear company had launched a new advertisement campaign ‘Support is Everything’ to promote its “inclusive” range of sports bras. The campaign underscored that bras cannot be one size fits all because different women have different breast shapes and sizes and that having bras in a variety of shapes and sizes should be the new standard.
As part of the campaign that was initially released in February, Adidas Tweeted an image of 20 women’s bare breasts in a grid that only revealed their torso. “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them, ”was one of the captions.
Two posters were also part of the campaign. The first featured 62 women’s breasts with the tagline “The reason we did not make just one new sports bra.” The second featured the same text but with images of 64 female nipples pixelated.
Since its release, the ad campaign received 24 complaints. Some of the complainants claimed that these photographs should not be published in public because they will be seen by children, while others claimed that the campaign objectified women by reducing them to a single body part.
Adidas in its defense said that the advertisement was not gratuitous or sexual but simply represented inclusivity. They further added that the company was not objectifying women since the faces of the models were already cropped to protect their identity. It also said that the models had all volunteered and were supportive of the campaign’s aims.
Adidas further stated that the ads were not displayed near schools or religious institutions and that it did not believe the campaign would harm or distress children.
Although the Tweet was reported by some users, Twitter did not delete it, claiming that it was organic and not paid-for, and thus did not violate its rules of service.