How Reebok Just Pulled a Rush Limbaugh

Reebok cheat on your girlfriend adA short post today.

I buy sneakers.

You buy sneakers.

But what I’m not looking for is my athletic apparel to take a “shock jock” stance with its advertising campaigns. Maybe you are. Who the hell am I to judge?

But what I can do is vote with my wallet when Reebok advocates cheating on your girlfriend instead of cheating on your workout regimen. My sneakers just pulled a Rush Limbaugh. Which means I’m changing sneakers.

I dished about it over on The Power of Unpopular…and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

There’s a great comment already from Doyle Albee, discussing how it’s simply a head-scratcher (and he uses a great sports team analogy to boot).

And tomorrow, there’s a real blog post. It needed some editing. So I’m still working on it. And yes — it’s a Bitch Slap. See you then.

17 replies
  1. Dennis (Higgipedia) Higgins
    Dennis (Higgipedia) Higgins says:

    I’m as shocked by the ad as I am that people still wear Reeboks.

    I’m a Brooks guy myself. Asics and Saucony are decent as well.

    Reply
  2. Tom Malcolm
    Tom Malcolm says:

    Here’s a reprint of a little sign I have in my office that applies to this “are you shittin’ me?” idiocy by Reebok…
    “Too often, we loose sight of life’s simple pleasures. Remember, when someone annoys you it takes 42 muscles in your face to frown, BUT, it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm and bitch-slap that mother fucker upside the head.”So here’s to you Reebok, a sincere bitch-slap upside your head!Seriously, what the fuck are you thinking???Tom Malcolm

    Reply
  3. Daryl Wallace
    Daryl Wallace says:

    Homegoal. Ad firm creative’s likely dominated by mad men. Another case of not appreciating and respecting one’s market.  Creatives need to consider and appreciate that women influence most of household spending. Nike would never have made this blunder and has been doing an amazing job of attracting women. RIP Reebok.

    Reply
    • Lexie's Kitchen
      Lexie's Kitchen says:

      Agreed. Where’s the class? When I think of Reebok (which in my eyes is a tired old brand) I think of “girlie” shoes. You know, aerobics class, Jazzercise. If they are trying to breathe life into a tired old brand … trying to win back/gain market share, they’d better think about the WOMEN that put them on the map in the first place. I dunno, I don’t even know what their market share looks like, what their brand strategy is (maybe they’re going for macho men). Just a little tasteless if you ask me.

      Reply
  4. Shane
    Shane says:

    Whoa hold on! Does anybody get that this is tongue in cheek. You really think they are advocating cheating on your girlfriend??? It is hyperbole folks. Don’t take shit so literally. Lighten up Francis.

    Reply
    • ANDmountains
      ANDmountains says:

       Shane, we know it’s supposed to be funny, but it IS still a huge tactical error. Think about what it would be like to be a woman, be constantly  bombarded with images of men as cheaters, and then see this ad on your gym wall. It becomes a failure as a humorous device. I don’t think it’s promoting cheating, but it’s not helping anything, and it’s not the kind of thing that a serious company that sells to women should be doing. It’s just a serious tactical error that has to do with who they’re willing to let write their ad copy (immature young boys) instead of intelligent marketers.

      Reply
  5. Marketing Expertise
    Marketing Expertise says:

    The reason I don’t like Rush Limbaugh, beyond the fact that he’s absurd rightist shill for the most conservative fringe of the Republican Party (not to mention a hypocritical, racist, sexist sleaze), is that he is a complete and total reactionary – that’s really his entire ridiculous and tired shtick – blah!

    I have to call you out, however, for being quite reactionary yourself in response this Reebok ad.

    First of all, who wears any Reebok shoes or apparel – we’re a decade into the new Millennium – get yourself some Asics already!?! I had a pair of Reebok tennis shoes in the 7th grade (circa 1986 – not to date myself) and I haven’t thought of them since, because that’s the last time they were relevant. Hating on Reebok is like hating on Keds – no one cares.

    The ad is clearly an attempt to be funny in an edgy, proactive manner, which I would agree is  really  not funny, or even provocative, in fact it’s innocuous –  I mean come on, it’s 2012, does this honestly offend anyone? To put this in modern day context, consider that Sirius/XM radio continuously airs ads for Ashley Madison, a dating site designed for married people to hook up and have affairs – Ashley Madison seems a whole lot more offensive than this ad – I mean come on, try to maintain a little perspective on the reality of world we live in.

    Let’s flip the script. Lean Cuisine markets low-calorie frozen foods – including desserts.  Picture a Lean Cuisine cheesecake promo poster featuring cheesecake in the foreground, a close up of a women’s satisfied smile (from the nose down) with a fork poised in front the background, and a caption that reads: Cheat on your boyfriend, not your diet. Does anyone find this offensive? You shouldn’t, because it’s not. Nor is it provocative or funny or clever – similar to this Reebok ad.

    If you want to criticize the piece because it represents a poor attempt at humor, is in poor taste or simply because it falls flat – by all means, and I agree with you.

    Anyone who is honestly riled up or offended by this, however, has WAY too much time on their hands.

    Reply
  6. Peter
    Peter says:

    This ad is a sexist and misogynistic attempt to boost revenue and win customers. What is offensive about it? The sexist part. The misogynistic part. The horrible confusion belying the idiotic assumption that sexism and/or misogyny (in any form) are good for the bottom line and/or society. What douche at Reebok approved this? What Marketing Expertise fails to see is that sexism and  misogyny in any form (be it provocative attempts at marketing, blatant idiocy, or failed humor) is not innocuous. It is what it is: sexism, misogyny. 

    Reply
  7. Killian
    Killian says:

    I quit buying Reebok when it came out a few years ago that they supported apartheid practices in South Africa.  I’d thought about trying them out again, but I think this will make me a solid “no Reebok” girl. 

    And yeah, I get that the ad is supposed to be hyperbole, but I feel that it’s still in poor taste which just negates the message.  A clever ad will make you snort behind your hand  and maybe shake your head a bit, but without the snort, it’s just an overstepped boundary.

    Reply
  8. tomRmalcolm
    tomRmalcolm says:

    I guess the “too much time” problem would apply to you as well, responding to all these people with “too much time on their hands”. lol. 
    Doesn’t matter that Reebok might not be relevant these days. Doesn’t matter that Reebok fell on their face trying to be provocatively edgy.To me the irony in their ad is that they are grasping at “provocative edginess” with blind eyes. They pick out some seemingly analogous relatedness that is a stretch at best and think that constitutes clever. 
    The whole moral question of cheating could actually be made to be funny, even though most would consider the behavior a serious insult and the perpetrator should consider some high quality therapy. lol. 

    To use the subject of cheating in an ad, they would need to make the butt of the joke the cheater, not the cheatee!  But then that would require some real finesse and creativity. Which clearly Reebok nor their agency possess. 
    But it’s as bad as the standup comic who thinks because he can use just as much profanity as Murphy or CK, that he is funny. When he too, just comes off as sophomoric and boring. There’s a real skill to profanity which I wish the fuck I had!Reebok was neither funny, nor clever, rather simply stupid. 

    Reply
  9. Denise
    Denise says:

    Taptaptap waiting for the “Bitch Slap”! Doesn’t matter to me it Reeboks are in or out of fashion, this ad campaign is not funny!

    Reply

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