Reebok’s latest “Be More Human” campaign, featuring ‘Game of Thrones’ actress Nathalie Emmanuel encouraged ambition, strength and feelgood girl-power.
The company’s parallel Russian campaign used the hashtag “not fit for frames,” a Russian play on words that translates as both ‘breaking boundaries’ and ‘being outrageous.’
One ad, featuring Russian feminist influencer Zalina Marshenkulova, was accompanied with text that, translated to English, read: “Sit not on the needle of men’s approval – sit on men’s face.” Another shot of Marshenkulova read: “When they say ‘carry you in my arms’ I imagine being carried in a coffin.” Her being the co-author of the slogans, Marshenkulova also featured in front of the one, proudly saying “I don’t fit in any frames.”
Another ad, featuring MMA fighter Justyna Graczyk warned her (presumably male) opponents: “I covered my nipples so that you don’t cut yourself,” followed by a stern declaration: “I HAVEN’T finished talking.” The generic “My body – my business” was also added.
The final set of ads in the triptych features Anzhelika Pilyaeva, European champion & World vice-champion in grappling. Taunting challengers to come forward, she says “I take it once a day after meal (myself for what I am).” In the next shot she delivers a straight right jab, with the text “‘Nuff said...NOT!”
Reebok pulled the ads from Instagram moments after they were posted, but not before Russians registered their outrage and confusion. The ads reappeared on Instagram shortly afterwards, but with the more contentions slogans removed, including Marshenkulova’s face-sitting motto and Graczyk’s nipple-tape comment. Meanwhile, Reebok rolled out an explanatory statement blaming the social network’s “age policy” for having to pull the ads, while noting that they could still be found on some of the models’ profiles.
“The ad caused a scandal and provoked a debate,” read one Russian comment. “That means that it’s a success. This is exactly what the guys wanted.”