New York (CNNBusiness)Adidas will soon debut a new sports bra line, but one of its ads doesn’t show the bra at all. Instead, Adidas tweeted a photo grid of 25 pairs of bare breasts in all their natural, diverse glory.
The sports apparel company pinned the ad to its Twitter page Wednesday, under a link that connects to the bra collection for anyone who makes it that far. The ad’s tagline: #SupportisEverything.
“We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort,” Adidas says in the campaign. “Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.”
The ad was obviously meant to be an attention-grabber and, not surprisingly, it went viral. Adidas ignited plenty of discussion — although perhaps not as much about sports bras or this specific new collection as the company might have hoped.
Women and men on Twitter both weighed in on Adidas’ marketing ploy — with decidedly mixed reactions.
Some Twitter users, mostly women consumers, said they would have preferred to see the bras versus the breasts. Others said the ad was inappropriate, or that it caught them off-guard and confused them. And some users said it was bold and applauded Adidas for it.
In a statement to CNN Business, Adidas said, “A sports bra is the single most important piece of workout apparel for those with breasts.”
“The confidence and support it gives can have a significant impact on someone’s performance and ability to stick with sport… The gallery was designed to show just how diverse breasts are, featuring different shapes and sizes that highlight why tailored support is paramount,” the statement said.
Marketing and branding expert David Placek, whose clients have included Apple, Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble, said Adidas’ ad is an example of sensational advertising.
“It reminds me of a lecture on advertising during which a question was asked, ‘How do you get someone’s attention?’ You show them a naked woman.'” said Placek. “While [the ad] does push the envelope, the problem with this strategy is that it takes away from the actual product.”
The ad might have been less shocking if it had shown 43 women actually wearing the new sports bras, Placek said. “It would have made the same point.”
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