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Reebok’s ‘Feminist’ Campaign Oddly Urges Women To Sit On Men’s Faces
By Mikelle Leow, 11 Feb 2019
Video screenshot via Reebok Russia
Reebok Russia’s latest campaign isn’t one of those translations-gone-wrong that mean hilariously different things in English. This one literally means what it says, and it’s understandably baffling customers from around the world.
In a bid to promote feminism, the company invited females involved in traditionally masculine sports to be the faces of the Russian edition of Reebok’s ‘#BeMoreHuman’ campaign, which is fronted by the likes of Gal Gadot and Ariana Grande.
Rather than stay faithful to the English tagline, “Never apologize for being strong,” though, Reebok Russia decided to put a cheeky spin on it, and rephrased it to read, “Sit not on the needle of men’s approval—sit on men’s faces.”
Needless to say, locals have called out the sportswear brand for blasting the demeaning message—which has been interpreted to refer to cunnilingus—on visuals of the women.
Following backlash, Reebok pulled the campaign, only to re-publish it without the tagline on its social media channels.
“Unfortunately, after the publication of some pictures, it became clear that part of the content could not be published on behalf of the brand due to the age policy of the social network,” the company wrote on Instagram.
Its marketing director, Alexander Golofast, resigned on Friday following the controversy, though he also expressed his disappointment in Reebok for backtracking the campaign despite initially giving it the green light.
“The company showed disrespect for itself,” Golofast told Euronews. “It signed up to this, approved all the quotes, [and] was even delighted with how bold and interesting and in line with the global strategy to do something bright and unusual.”
He also said the copy had two motivations: “being yourself” and “[giving] each other pleasure,” which he described to best “reflect the image of a modern woman, who not only spits on stereotypes, but also a woman who goes into the world with a positive agenda.”
Golofast added that the racy campaign was a “huge success,” as Reebok Russia had not received so much international attention “since the 90s.”
reebok russia has reworded the english ad slogan 'never apologise for being strong' as 'stop sitting on the needle of male approval, start sitting on men's faces' pic.twitter.com/mr0qgi3HjG— S.G. (@smlgff) February 7, 2019
[via Euronews, video and cover image via Reebok Russia]
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