Adidas has released a new campaign for its latest sports bra line which has led to a mixed response from the public. Instead of showcasing sports bras made for different body types, the campaign took on a surprise factor featuring a bold photo grid of 25 pairs of breasts along with a couple of images of women’s backs after wearing sports bras. The campaign with the tagline #SupportisEverything, unfortunately, has received mixed reactions from the public.
According to adidas, the campaign aims to support women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes "Which is why its new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them."
The ad pinned to the top its Twitter page saw both men and women commenting on the post. Comments ranged from consumers stating that they would have preferred to see the bras rather than the breasts, to accusations of the brand of using sex to sell their products deeming the move “inappropriate”, and of course support for its bold stance on women’s breasts. Since its release of the ad on Twitter on 9 February, the tweet has garnered more than 4,000 retweets at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, on Instagram, the responses have been far more positive as compared to its Twitter post. "Amazing on normalising the female body all the way and providing the support that the woman's body actually asks for," said a user.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that the ad campaign was done in collaboration with Omnicom Group's TBWA, and has reached out to both adidas and TBWA for a statement and additional information behind the ad campaign.
In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Pat Law, founder of creative social media agency Goodstuph said, in today’s time and age, it’s about time brands remove the gloss of unrealistic beauty. Law applauded the move by adidas saying, “I love the work done by adidas. First, there is a ‘if you know you know’ imagery which triggers off emotions for just about any woman who wears sports bras. It’s so simple, and yet so powerful,” said Law, adding:
The brand shows a family of very real, very non-Pornhub-like boobs, which itself reflects on the brand’s values. Bravo.
Similarly, Joan Lim, creative director of WILD called the work a "brilliant, informational piece of work on many fronts". She added that women do not necessarily know what other women's boobs look like. "In fact, most advertisements out there tend to make female consumers second guess their own boobs all the time," said Lim, adding:
This ad normalises our uniqueness, and I find it appeasing and honest.
Meanwhile, Valerie Madon, chief creative officer at VMLY&R shed light on the negative reaction that many consumers are sharing. Madon explained that simply showing what breasts look like doesn't feel like they understand what bothers women about needing the right support.
“Why many might feel that adidas is sensationalising the matter is because of the lack of depth in portraying the understanding of how women feel, but instead the communication seems to now stop short at just creating shock value,” she said. Madon added that if a brand needs to show how they are experts, she’d want to see the understanding behind the campaign.
“I’d want to know how different breast needs different support because of strain on back, strain on the skin, how the shape of breast matters and how wearing the wrong or right types of bra matters,” said Madon. "If there's substance, then people won't be focusing on just the shock value of breasts but actually realise the complexity of the body form." She added:
We are not here to say 'don't use naked bodies'. We are saying 'use naked bodies with sophistication'.
Advertising veteran Cindy Gallop also congratulated the brand on its campaign, adding, “ What I’d want to know now is, will Facebook and Instagram allow you to run this, when we #sextech and #femtech female founders are banned from any kind of open, healthy, educational advertising or content, let alone pics of nipples?”
Meanwhile, closer to home, the use of female body parts also triggered a fierce conversation in Malaysia when feminine hygiene brand Libresse had to withdraw an ad campaign where the brand reimagined the Nyonya kebaya chrysanthemum and peony designs with the vulva as the heart of the floral embroidery. Aiming to normalise V-Zone taboos, the brand wanted to spread a message to women that they should be proud and confident in their own skin regardless of the shape, size, or cultural diversity.
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