Adidas sports bra advert banned in UK for "sexualising" women - Women's Running

Adidas sports bra advert banned in UK for “sexualising” women

Author: Holly Taylor

Read Time:   |  May 11, 2022

The ASA has banned an Adidas campaign following complaints that it objectified women

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have banned a series of Adidas adverts depicting women’s naked breasts following complaints that the campaign “sexualis[ed]” women, “reducing them to body parts”.

The campaign, which featured on the sportswear giant’s social media channels as well as on selected billboards, was banned in the UK on grounds of use of explicit imagery and appearing where children could see it.

Adidas have defended the ad, stating that the intention was to demonstrate the different shapes and sizes of women that their sports bras cater for, and confirming that all of the anonymous participants were supportive of the use of imagery in the campaign.

The ASA received a total of 24 complaints about the sports bra adverts.

“We believe women’s breasts in all shapes in sizes deserve support and comfort,” Adidas stated in response to the UK ban. “Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.” The bras are still available to purchase despite the ASA ruling.

The imagery, which depicts the naked breasts of multiple different women, had been cropped to protect the identity of the models involved.

Despite conceding that the portrayal of women in the ads was not in itself overtly sexual, the ASA maintained that they needed to be targeted more carefully to avoid causing “offence to those who viewed them”.

Campaigners like Lina Esco, who set up #freethenipple in 2012, have been focussing on body politics for a decade, arguing that women’s nipples should not automatically be sexualised and that context is key when it comes to nudity.

Aside from the 24 complaints to the ASA, reception of the Adidas ads has been primarily positive. “To all those involved in this, we salute you,” said one Twitter user in response.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by adidas Women (@adidaswomen)

Written by

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor

Holly Taylor is the digital editor of Women’s Running and co-host of the Women’s Running podcast, where she shares her running journey as well as the inspiring stories of women runners all over the country. She’s never been the sporty type, but running is the first time she’s felt real joy in getting active. She loves talking about running with a community of inclusive and supportive runners, and Women's Running is the perfect space for this. She's currently aiming for a half marathon PB!

Meet the team

We use cookies to give you a better experience on By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies as set in our Cookie Policy.

OK, got it