“It is important to note that the ASA ruling was related to this creative being used in an untargeted fashion on email / banner ads etc, rather than the creative itself and the message, which we stand proudly behind,” said Adidas.
A sports bra ad campaign by Adidas launched in February that featured photographs of bare breasts has been banned by the London-based Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) for showing explicit nudity.
Images of the 25 women’s breasts were posted in a tweet featuring women of various shapes, colors, and sizes..
There was also a poster campaign with the bare breasts of 62 women with the caption reading, “The reasons we didn’t make just one new sports bra”. Adidas said all models featured gave their consent for the photographs.
According to the ASA, after receiving 24 complaints, the “two issues were investigated, both of which were upheld.”
- Some complainants, who considered the ads’ use of nudity was gratuitous, objectified women by sexualizing them and reducing them to body parts, challenged whether they were harmful and offensive; and
- Some complainants also challenged whether ads (b) and (c) were appropriate for display where it could be seen by children.
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.
— adidas (@adidas) February 9, 2022
The ASA said on their site that:
“Adidas UK Ltd believed the images in the ads were not gratuitous; they were intended to reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why tailored support bras were important. They said the images had been cropped to protect the identity of the models and to ensure their safety. All the models shown had volunteered to be in the ad and were supportive of its aims. They did not consider the ad to be sexual; they intended to show breasts simply as a part of a woman’s body.
They said their agency had submitted the ads at brief stage to CAP’s Copy Advice team, who had advised that the images were not sexual and did not appear to objectify women, but that there was risk attached to the use of nudity in commercial advertising, especially in untargeted spaces. Adidas said that, as a result of that advice, they had not placed the ads near schools or religious venues.”
The ASA agreed that the women portrayed in the tweet were not portrayed in a sexually explicit manner that objectified them.
However, it was decided that the posters were not suitable for use in untargeted media where they could be seen by children.
“It is important to note that the ASA ruling was related to this creative being used in an untargeted fashion on email / banner ads etc, rather than the creative itself and the message, which we stand proudly behind, and it is exhibited on adidas.com,” Adidas told Business Insider.
You can see the ASA’s full assessment here.