The tagline “your relationship or your abs” was chosen to bring the root of the issue to the forefront without any fancy words to conceal the absurdity of what Reebok is insinuating. By drawing attention to it in a very obvious way, it forces people to see the ridiculousness of it the choice and also to think about why the original ad is ridiculous. The “sponsored by Reebok” underneath is once again meant to point towards the original ad and to place blame onto Reebok and to show that they are essentially sponsoring people to choose between their long-term relationships or how good they look. I chose the image to be the exact opposite of Reebok’s. Theirs had a male muscular model facing away from the camera so that the audience only saw their backside. On the other hand, the picture I chose framed both the male and female in the picture and facing towards the audience in an attempt to humanize the people involved, particularly the female who was left out of the original ad. Putting faces to the concept of cheating might drive home how much worse that option is.
Ultimately, the entire point of this culture jam is to show the absurdity of the situation and to drive home certain aspects of it. Reebok to this day has not lived down the fact they aired this ad, despite only airing it in one small area because of the Internet. For all Reebok does to try and divert their image away from this time as they did in response to some of President Trump’s comments, people will remember what they also did in the past.
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.
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