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Ads for Adidas sports bras showing women’s bare breasts are banned by UK advertising regulator

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Ads for Adidas sports bras featuring topless women have been banned because they are likely to cause widespread offence.

A tweet, posted in February, showed the breasts of 20 women of different skin colors, shapes and sizes in a grid format.

In the ad, Adidas said, “We believe women’s breasts of all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort.” That’s why our new range of sports bras contains 43 styles, so that everyone can find the one that suits them.

Two other posters showed similar cropped images of 62 and 64 women and read, “Reasons why we didn’t create just one new sports bra.

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 24 complaints that the use of nudity in advertisements was gratuitous and objectified women by sexualising them and ‘reducing them to body parts’.

Some plaintiffs also disputed that the advertising posters were appropriate for display where they could be seen by children.

Adidas UK said the images were meant to “reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why bespoke supportive bras matter”.

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Ads for Adidas sports bras featuring topless women have been banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as they are likely to cause widespread infringement.

The brand explained in its advertisement that its new line of sports bras comes in 43 styles because women's breasts are

The brand explained in its advertisement that its new line of sports bras comes in 43 styles because women’s breasts come in “all shapes and sizes”.

They said the images had been cropped to protect the models’ identities and ensure their safety, adding that all models featured had volunteered to appear in the advert and supported its aims.

Twitter said the post was reported by some users, but was not found to violate its terms of service.

The ASA said: “While we did not consider the way the women were depicted to be sexually explicit or objectify them, we did consider the depiction of bare breasts to be likely to be considered explicit nudity. .

“Because the ads contained explicit nudity, we felt they required careful targeting to avoid offending those who viewed them.”

Referring to the two posters, the ASA said: “We felt the image was unsuitable for use in non-targeted media, particularly where it could be seen by children.” We concluded that (the posters) were inappropriately targeted and were likely to cause widespread infringement.

Regarding the tweet, the ASA said: “We noted that content commonly featured on Adidas’ Twitter feed promoted their women’s activewear and considered explicit nudity to be non-compliant. to their usual content.”

“Because (the tweet) contained explicit nudity, we concluded it was likely to cause widespread offense in this medium.

“We therefore concluded that the advertisements violated the Code.”

Adidas said: “The creation of the gallery was designed to show how diverse breasts are, with different shapes and sizes showing why tailored support is paramount.

The provocative advert appeared on billboards across the US, with one fan sharing a photo of the billboard while praising the business (pictured).  Twitter said the post was flagged by some users but not found to violate its terms of service.

The provocative advert appeared on billboards across the US, with one fan sharing a photo of the billboard while praising the business (pictured). Twitter said the post was flagged by some users but not found to violate its terms of service.

“It’s important to note that the ASA’s decision was related to the non-targeted use of this creative on email/banner ads/etc rather than the creative itself and message, which we support proudly, and displayed on adidas.com.’

In a defense given to the ASA investigation, the company said: “They [the ads] aimed to reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why custom-fit support bras matter.

“The images have been cropped to protect the identity of the models and ensure their safety.

“All of the models featured had volunteered to appear in the ad and were supportive of its aims. Adidas did not view the ad as sexual; they intended to show breasts simply as part of the body of an a woman.

Adidas said its advertising agency submitted the posters at the brief stage to the advising team in copy, who said the images were not sexual and did not appear to objectify women, but that there was ” a risk associated with the use of nudity in commercial advertising, particularly in non-targeted spaces”.

The sports company said that following that advice, the company did not place the ads near schools or religious buildings.

Adidas' ad didn't actually feature any of the sports bras it was promoting, although there was a link to the collection.

Adidas' ad didn't actually feature any of the sports bras it was promoting, although there was a link to the collection.

The Adidas advert didn’t actually feature any of the sports bras it was promoting, although there was a link to the collection (examples pictured)

But the ASA said of its decision: ‘Ads should no longer appear in offending forms. We asked Adidas UK Ltd to ensure that their advertisements were not shocking and responsibly targeted.

Twitter said the ad showing bare nipples was an “organic, non-paying tweet” that was flagged by some users, but was not found to violate their terms of service.

Adidas joked in response to the decision that “everyone in sport deserves support” and that the company “stands proudly behind” the message underlying the ads.

A spokesperson for the sportswear company said: “At adidas, we believe everyone in sport deserves support. That’s why we relentlessly innovate to meet the needs of our diverse community, helping more people experience the life-changing benefits of sport.

“The confidence and support that a sports bra provides can have a significant impact on performance and a person’s ability to stay true to sport. That’s why we’ve redesigned our entire portfolio, catering to more bodies and workouts than ever before.

“The gallery creation was designed to show just how diverse breasts are, with different shapes and sizes showing why tailored support is paramount.”

“It’s important to note that the ASA’s decision was related to the use of this creative in a non-targeted manner rather than the creative itself and the message, which we proudly support.”

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