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UK ad watchdog bans Adidas advert for exposing “bare breasts”

By Rachel Douglass

12 May 2022


Image: Adidas

A UK watchdog has banned a bra advertisement by sportswear giant Adidas after it received complaints for showing bare breasts.

The ruling came in relation to a tweet on Adidas’ own Twitter account, which showed a cropped photo displaying the bare breasts of 20 women to promote its new sports bra range, with a similar photo also used for a poster campaign, one of which pixelated the nipples.

A total of 24 complaints were received by ASA, some of which considered the use of nudity to be an objectification of women, stating it was “reducing them to body parts”, while others complained whether the ads were appropriate to be viewed by children.

In response to the complaints, Adidas said the ads were intended to “reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why tailored support bras were important”. The sportswear brand added that the images had been cropped to protect the identity of the models, all which it said had volunteered to be in the ad.

In its assessment, ASA said: “Although we did not consider that the way the women were portrayed was sexually explicit or objectified them, we considered that the depiction of naked breasts was likely to be seen as explicit nudity.”

While initially the ads were published in untargeted media, meaning they were less likely to be seen by children, the firm said that they were inappropriately targeted and were “likely to cause widespread offence”, and therefore breached the watchdog’s code.