Remember those Reebok shoes?

Remember those really offensive, sexist Reebok ads?

Well, I decided to write them at their corporate address and tell them what I thought.  Here is my original email, which I will admit is rather angry, but can you blame me after seeing the ads?

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing because I am disgusted by your campaign for the EasyTone Shoe line. The commercials I have seen are revoltingly sexist and don’t even seem all that targeted to women, unless, of course, our sole purpose is to attract men. (It isn’t.)  I see this marketing as a giant step backwards. I don’t find the “pervy cameraman” angle funny, or the “jealous breasts” or any of the statistics about men and “jealous women.”  While I have worn Reebok in the past, I will not be making another purchase until your company makes a public apology for these advertisements. That doesn’t mean just making them disappear. It means admitting that they are wrong and objectifying.

Sincerely,
M
Hometown, State

Today I was surprised to open my inbox and find that I had received a reply. Here is what they had to say [Anything in bold is my emphasis]:

Hello M,

Thank you very much for your feedback.  All consumer feedback is helpful, as it provides us with an understanding of the public perception and opinion of our products and marketing.

The Reebok EasyTone ads were created to clearly illustrate the unique benefits of the footwear in a fun and bold way. The feedback we have received tells us that many consumers look at the ads in exactly that light, however we acknowledge that some consumers do take exception with the content of the ads.

You can be assured that your feedback will be relayed directly to our marketing team.

Regards,
Reebok Corporate Communications

So, I am glad that my words will be “relayed” to marketing.  At the same time, I’m a little annoyed that rather than apologizing in any way, they merely “acknowledge” that I am one of “some” people who take offense, while “many” see it their way.  Why do those “many” come first in the response to me?  How many people wrote in saying these were “bold and fun”? Can we count the men making obscene, objectifying comments about the lead woman? They’d probably agree.

See, the ads aren’t really about what Reebok is advertising… They are only as bad as the public makes them.  It’s all about “perception” and so they company could not possibly admit they have made an error at all.

And in what manner do they clearly illustrate the benefits of the shoe? These are typical images of sexualized women with a few glorified butt shots and a lot of nudity if you watch all the ads in this campaign… The statistics given don’t just provide  numbers on muscle build, but refer to the percentage of men who will be attracted to you if you use the shoes (more than 80%) and women who will be jealous of you.  I’ve hear suggestions that these stats don’t match in the aired versions versus the paper versions over at Ad Rant.

Wear these shoes -> Be a sexual commodity.

Also, the shoes are designed to be “harder” to walk in, yet “comfortable”, so you can walk less but get more exercise I guess?  An “easy fix” if you can’t fit into a perfect mold yet, eh?

While “many consumers” might think this is all well and good, I’m not one of them, and I will be sticking with my decision not to buy Reebok.

EDIT: You can email them too at corporate at reebok.com

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2 Responses to “Remember those Reebok shoes?”

  1. Julie Says:

    Hello – I was looking to email them as well, because I am so disgusted with the ads. What was the address you sent this to? I’d like to tell them to shove those shoes up there @$$es.

  2. M Says:

    Sorry, I meant to include the address in the post. It is: corporate@reebok.com
    Glad you want to take the time to tell them where to stick it.

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