The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has forbidden advertisements by Adidas touting its diverse line of sports bras on the grounds of “explicit nudity.”

The decision concerns two posters advertising and one tweet that were visible in February of this year. A photo gallery of bare breasts in various sizes, shapes, and skin tones is featured in the tweet and one of the posters. Similar photographs were used for the second poster, but pixels covered the nipples.

The advertisements, according to Adidas, were created to highlight the fact that sports bras exist in a broader variety of styles and sizes and are essential for women of all sizes and shapes.

Adidas responds to the prohibition with a statement that it provided to Marketing Week, saying: “That is why we have re-engineered our entire portfolio, catering to more bodies and exercises than ever before.

“The exhibition creative was created to show exactly how diverse breasts are, showcasing numerous forms and sizes that underline why customized support is vital,” said the creator of the work.

However, the advertisements generated a lot of debate. As further tweets and stories questioned if the company had engaged in sexism and objectification, the ASA received 24 complaints.

How did Adidas respond To Bare Breasts Photo Controversy?

There were two primary topics in the ASA complaints. The advertising was objectifying women, to start. These complainants said that the nudity in the advertisement was gratuitous and that it degraded women to mere body parts.

Adidas replied to the ASA that its purpose was not to objectify in response to these accusations. In order to maintain anonymity, the firm stated it decided to crop the models’ faces out of the pictures. It said that the women in the pictures gave their complete permission for the pictures to be published.

Adidas claimed that its agency had briefly presented the advertisements to the Committee of Advertising Practice‘s (CAP) Copy Advice team, who had given their opinion that the advertisement was neither sexual nor objectifying to women.

Concerns regarding an injury to children were the complainants’ second point of contention. In the instance of the posters, the complainants argued that these nudity-containing advertisements were likely to be seen by youngsters.

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Adidas claimed that the risk of untargeted commercials having nudity was discussed with them when the ads were submitted to CAP. As a result, an effort was taken to ensure that the poster advertisements were not put up close to churches or schools.

Adidas Controversy

The company also argued that because the ads were meant to highlight diversity in body shapes rather than be sexualized, the nudity depicted in them was not damaging to children.

The ASA, however, has upheld both allegations. Although it agreed with the opinion given by CAP to Adidas that it “did not consider that the manner the women were portrayed as sexually explicit or objectified [them],” it added that the images in the advertisements are probably going to be viewed as explicit nudity. The ASA pointed out that the advertisement places more emphasis on the breasts than it does on sports bras.

Despite not being objectifying, the ASA said that these commercials needed “careful targeting to prevent offending”. However, two of the advertisements were big posters that anyone, including kids, was likely to view. The ASA deemed the photographs unacceptable for use in this type of untargeted advertisement.

The ASA also forbade Twitter advertisement, despite the fact that youngsters were less likely to see it. It claimed that the ad’s pictures were out of character for Adidas’s typical Twitter feed and were therefore likely to arouse offense.

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Adidas has been instructed by the ASA that none of the three ads may run again. The brand has also been instructed to make sure that future advertisements are sensitively targeted and do not offend anyone.

Adidas continues to “proudly” support the commercials in the meanwhile.

The company notes that the ASA judgment had less to do with the creative itself and its message than it did with its use in an untargeted manner.

How Does This Ad Affect Adidas Sales?

Although I don’t know how bra sales are doing, the “get people talking” approach is effective. Adidas’s desexualizing breasts advertisement has received mixed reviews. Some people have praised it, while others have criticized it as exploitative.

Adidas Controversy

An associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine, told the Washington Post that “they are now attempting to sell us objectification as if it’s liberty.”

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The former marketing expert in me has decided the ad is actually rather brilliant after giving it a lot of thought (I’ve been thinking about breasts all weekend).

Female nipples are restricted on Instagram because, unlike male chests, women’s breasts continue to be absurdly sexualized. Even if Adidas’s advertisement is a sleazy attention-grab, I’m all for anything that normalizes nipples.

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