Big corporations and their marketing teams have a tendency to make horrible advertising choices. Reebok took it a step further by showing just how far out of touch they were with society. The company ran the above ad in Germany to motivate gym goers at a small local gym. The text of the ad suggest an easy dichotomy between a relationship and a workout and insinuates that the obvious choice would be to choose to cheat on your girlfriend rather than on your workout. To most people, that would not be the obvious choice.
There are two problems that need to be addressed in this ad: the demeaning nature of women and the toxic masculinity that stems from that. There are studies that suggest advertisements that present women as nothing more than sex objects, acclimatize males to accept violence again women than those who are not exposed to sexist advertisements (Lanis and Covell 1995). The women in this ad are easily tossed aside, if the flippant remark about cheating is anything to go by. There is no care or humanizing of the female, she is not even in the advertisement at all – just an abstract concept in the distance. Furthermore, by producing this ad, Reebok helps to foster the hive mentality targeting males and curating how they act in society. It is no mistake that the ad said to “cheat on your girlfriend” rather than “cheat on your boyfriend” or have both ads printed to target both females and males. The ad reinforces the idea that men should be muscular above all other things, even if that means sacrificing their long term relationship with their significant others. Having that type of mentality constantly being pushed onto men creates an unsafe environment where doing anything of the opposite would be frowned upon.
K. Lanis., & K. Covell. (1995) Images of Women in Advertisements: Effects on Attitudes Related to Sexual Aggression. Sex Roles, 32, 639, 646.