Even if this Reebok goes edgy move did capture plenty of attention, it did so for the wrong reasons. The backlash has pushed Reebok to pull-out the rest of the campaign. It also saw the resignation of select individuals within the marketing department.
reebok russia has reworded the english ad slogan ‘never apologise for being strong’ as ‘stop sitting on the needle of male approval, start sitting on men’s faces’ pic.twitter.com/mr0qgi3HjG— S.G. (@smlgff) February 7, 2019
When descriptions like ‘Reebok goes edgy’ appears, many guess it’d be controversial or a fun-read. That isn’t the case for the latest Reebok Russia campaign as the shout-out literally wants consumers to “sit on mens’ faces”. It’s very different, in a literal sense, from what Reebok is doing. A report in DesignTaxi confirms that Reebok Russia has added its own twist for the 2019 theme. Instead of staying faithful with the English tagline, the Russian team feel it’s cooler to go for an edgier tagline. Thus, the US shout-out – ‘Never apologise for being strong’ – now reads as ‘Sit not on the needle of men’s approval—sit on men’s faces’. This is the literal translation of the body text on all Russia-based advertisements for the ‘#BeMoreHuman’ campaign. While it is edgy, Russians from all quarters are calling out Reebok for this crass shout-out. Many feel the message is demeaning to women; in fact, most feel this is in direct opposition to the ‘strong female’ message Reebok is putting out.