SIZING UP THE SITUATION: Forty-eight hours after announcing a major sports bra launch, Adidas was still trending on Google searches for all the wrong reasons Friday.
Social media critics first kicked into high gear after the athletic juggernaut tweeted a photo of the bare breasts of 25 people Wednesday to promote its new sports bra line. The image featured individual closeups of women’s torsos of varying sizes and ethnicities. The post included, “We believe women’s breast in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort. Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them,” with a link to its e-commerce site.
Asked for comment regarding the decision to tweet the bare-breasted photo, an Adidas spokesman issued a statement that noted the gallery was designed to show “just how diverse breasts are, featuring different shapes and sizes that highlight why tailored support is paramount.”
In addition, the statement read, “Adidas believes everybody in sport deserves to be supported. That is why we tirelessly innovate to meet the needs of our diverse community, helping more people experience the life-changing benefits of sport. A sports bra is the single most important piece of workout apparel for those with breasts. The confidence and support it gives can have a significant impact on someone else’s performance and ability to stick with support. That is why we have re-engineered our entire portfolio, catering to more bodies and workouts than ever before.”
As for whether the company is planning any initiatives or actions in response to the backlash, the Adidas spokesman said the company does not have more to share at this time.
Set to debut on Valentine’s Day, the collection is designed to fit women of all shapes and sizes. Forty-three styles will be offered in 73 sizes across 18 product franchises. Adidas developed the extensive line with independent researchers at the University of Portsmouth, a U.K.-based entity that specializes in breast biomechanics. Adidas generated 19.8 billion euros in annual sales in 2020.
The Germany-based sports conglomerate has had a rocky week on the global sports stage. One of its leading sponsored athletes, Olympic downhill skier Mikaela Shiffrin, failed to finish the giant slalom and slalom races earlier this week. The 26-year-old American, a three-time overall World Cup champion, also did not medal in the super-G Friday. Shiffrin is slated to compete in two more events at the Beijing Games — the women’s downhill Monday and the women’s combined slalom Thursday.
Some were calling for a boycott of Adidas Friday via Twitter, after the company ended its endorsement deal with Kurt Zouma after he shared a video of himself kicking a cat. The French professional soccer star’s Premier League club West Ham United has reportedly fined him two weeks’ pay, 250,000 pounds.
Asked for comment, the Adidas spokesman said that its investIgation regarding Zouma had been concluded and he is no longer “an Adidas contracted athlete.”
Another high-profile professional athlete, who is still sponsored by Adidas, NBA star James Harden created a thorny issue for the athletic brand earlier this week. Along with being traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday, Harden will be trading in his No. 13 jersey, the number he has worn throughout his career. The 76ers had long retired No. 13 in honor of the late great Wilt Chamberlain. In an Adidas commercial released Tuesday, Harden spoke of the significance of his preferred number. He signed a 13-year $200 million endorsement deal with Adidas in 2015. The Adidas spokesman deferred comment about that to a colleague, who said Friday night there was no information to share about Harden at this time.