Monday, November 30, 2009

The camera slowly pans down the bare backside of a woman lying in bed, pausing slightly on her round ass in a pair of exposing black panties before soaking in her long, toned legs and finally, a pair of bright pink and white sneakers – wait, sneakers?

Imagine my surprise when I first saw this commercial while the TV was on mute. I rolled my eyes, expecting it was a promotion for a new, sexy fragrance. But my eyes soon stopped rolling and began bulging from their sockets when I saw those pair of running shoes.

Seriously? This is how we’re advertising sneakers today? I now grant the award for scummiest advertising campaign of the year to Reebok Easytone. The brand is revolving their new ad campaign around the promise these sneakers will tone a woman’s butt and legs, making them irresistible.

When you take the “mute” button off, the voiceover states these sneakers will make 88% of men speechless and 76% of women jealous of your body. Where are these stats coming from? And why only 88%? I thought all men enjoyed playing footsies in bed with a hard rubber sole. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve rolled around the sheets in only my underwear bottoms and athletic footwear.

And just when I thought the female body exploitation was bad enough, Reebok aired a second commercial. A woman in shorts made up of less fabric than Richard Simmons’ infamous outfit, tells of the sneakers’ benefits while the cameraman zooms in for a close up shot of her behind. Twice. “I take it you agree?” she flirtingly asks the cameraman at the end, a broad smile plastered on her face. This commercial is severely uncomfortable to sit through. It made me feel like a pervert secretly watching some dude act out a sick fantasy. I half expected the host from “How to Catch a Predator” to walk out.

As a young feminist, I was nauseated to see such blatant objectification of women by a brand that should be about health and fitness, not sex and fetishism. Were you as disturbed by this campaign as me?

Erica Sanderson is a graduate student in communications. She can be reached at

1 comment:

  1. These ads have actually gotten worse, the latest incarnation involves a pair of talking boobs, here's Salon's article