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Adidas Defends Sports Bra Advert Banned For Being 'Too Explicit'

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Adidas Defends Sports Bra Advert Banned For Being 'Too Explicit'

Adidas has defended a sports bra ad which it said aimed to celebrate diversity, but which ended up getting banned by the Advertising Standards Agency for being 'too explicit'.

While many praised the sportswear company for their 'bold' billboard showing 25 pairs of bare breasts, others were clearly not too happy about the campaign’s push for body positivity. 

Promoting the newest addition to their sports bra range, the advertisement read: “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort.”

It continued: “Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.”

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Following a flood of comments disapproving of the advert, Adidas has since been ordered to stop using ads for sports bras that showed more than 60 pictures of women's nipples on the grounds that it "objectified women" and was "unnecessarily sexual".

While the sportswear brand’s aim was to "illustrate diversity" through bodily representation and speak out against the censoring of female nipples, others seemed to take offence.

Dubbing the campaign as "gratuitous" nudity, the advert was consequently banned from posting the images on platforms where children could see them

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The advert caused an outrage online. Credit: Adidas/Twitter
The advert caused an outrage online. Credit: Adidas/Twitter

Posted back in February to their Twitter account, Adidas has since come under fire by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that ruled the posts as "likely to cause widespread offence".

Even with one of the three posters attached to the campaign pixilating the nipples, alongside a strong and inclusive message of promoting body positivity for women of all different shapes and sizes - the ASA has since declared that the images could still be seen as sexual.

The ASA claimed the advert was "likely to cause widespread offence". Credit: Adidas
The ASA claimed the advert was "likely to cause widespread offence". Credit: Adidas
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The ASA issued a statement saying that the posters were "likely to be seen as explicit nudity", arguing that the breasts were the main focus in the ads, with "less emphasis on the bras themselves".

Adidas hit back, maintaining that the posters did not show "explicit nudity" but were more intended to "reflect and celebrate" different shapes and sizes, as well as to show diversity and how a tailored support bras are important.

The brand's tagline "#SupportIsEverything" aligns with Adidas' response.

Adidas maintained that the campaign intended to "reflect and celebrate" different shapes and sizes. Credit: Alamy
Adidas maintained that the campaign intended to "reflect and celebrate" different shapes and sizes. Credit: Alamy
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The ASA concluded their ruling, stating that it "acknowledged the intention of the ads was to show women’s breasts differed in shape and size", but "considered the depiction of naked breasts was likely to be seen as explicit nudity".

Adidas UK Ltd later responded to the ruling: "All the models shown had volunteered to be in the ad and were supportive of its aims. Adidas did not consider the ad to be sexual; they intended to show breasts simply as a part of a woman’s body."

Adidas also said it had not put the ads near schools or religious buildings.

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However, this wasn't enough for the ASA.

"The ads must not appear again in the forms complained of. We told Adidas UK Ltd to ensure their ads did not cause offence and were targeted responsibly," the watchdog announced.

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Style

Rhiannon Ingle
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