Adidas sports bra adverts that featured photographs of bare breasts have been banned for showing explicit nudity.
Images of the breasts of dozens of women of various skin colours, shapes and sizes in a grid format appeared on a tweet and two posters. The Advertising Standards Agency found all three versions likely to cause widespread offence.
Adidas said the adverts “show just how diverse breasts are” and therefore how important the correct sports bra is. A spokesperson for Adidas UK said it stood proudly behind the message which it continued to display on its website.
The tweet was posted in February with the words: “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.”
The two posters showed similar cropped images of 62 and 64 women, and stated: “The reasons we didn’t make just one new sports bra.”
The advertising watchdog received 24 complaints that the advert’s use of nudity was gratuitous and objectified women by sexualising them and “reducing them to body parts”.
Some people had contacted them asking whether the posters were appropriate to be on display where they could be seen by children.
Twitter also said the post had been reported by some users but was not found to be in breach of its terms of service.
The ASA said it did not think the way the women were portrayed in the tweet was sexually explicit or objectified them. But it did find that the tweet was likely to be seen as explicit nudity and required careful targeting to avoid causing offence.
It decided the posters were not suitable for use in untargeted media where they could be seen by children. Adidas UK said the images were intended to “reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why tailored support bras were important”.
They said the images had been cropped to protect the identity of the models and to ensure their safety, adding that all the models shown had volunteered to be in the ad and were supportive of its aims.