Help us tell Adidas to stop ignoring women athletes

I have been ranting all week about the new Adidas campaign that completely ignores female athletes and makes it look like all women can do is dance on the sidelines (see previous posting). So far they have ignored all comments, emails, tweets and have deleted (or disallowed) most of our comments made on their facebook page.

As such, I am now asking for your help to get their attention. I want them to know that its not okay to treat women as decorative objects that cheer on men, rather than participating in sports themselves.

Here are some really easy ways you can help us to get their attention:

1. Post a comment on their facebook page: . A short comment like: “Adidas, please stop excluding female athletes from your ‘all-in’ campaign.

2. Tweet or RT the following (or similar):

@adidasUK @adidasUS want us #allin, unless youre a girl, then you just dance & look pretty. #feminism #gender #fem

3. Email or get onto the Adidas website at with a letter of complaint. If you wish, you can copy and paste some/all of the below template:

“To whom it may concern,

We are writing to express our concern regarding your recent UK television advertising for the “All in” campaign. We are very disturbed by the poor representation of women in the piece. Women are not only under-represented in the “All in” commercial, but are depicted as only being on the sidelines of sports, rather than actual participants. In the campaign spot that has been airing on UK television, there are only approx. four women that are given any amount of screen time. This includes one model, one singer, a woman dancing and one runner. In the ~1 minute commercial there are numerous shots of numerous men playing actual sports including football, soccer, skateboarding, basketball, BMX and boxing to name a few. Yet there is only one shot that lasts for about one second of a woman in sport (the runner). All other women in the advert are dancing or ‘looking pretty’.

This kind of gender discrimination is extremely detrimental as what you are portraying is that for boys it is cool and great to be sporty, but not for girls. Boys have all these great role models to aspire to, and what do girls get? Katy Perry and a model. Not exactly inspiring. This commercial is subliminally telling girls that sport is not for them, it is something that they cheer for, but don’t participate in.

There are so many amazing sportswomen in the world, it seems ridiculous that you were not able to find a suitable woman to be on par with the men in your campaign. Particularly when another sportswear company recently produced such a good example of female athletes in advertising:

Furthermore, although Katy Perry is popular and well known, her relevance to a sportswear company is a little unclear. But we would like to stress that it is not the presence of a singer like Perry, or the cheerleaders etc in this commercial that is the problem. It is that there are (with the exception of that one second shot of the runner) no other representations of women as active, strong, sportspeople. The men in the advert are shown running, playing, competing and having a laugh even when taking a fall. But the females in the advert seem wrapped in cotton wool and makeup. They are there for the benefit of others, they cheer, they dance, they look pretty. Why don’t you show women doing sport? Why not show women competing, women excelling, women taking a tumble themselves sometime? We are not any more breakable than men, we promise. We are not just display items that make the world prettier and cheer on the men-folk.

What we are asking you is to re-think the portrayal of women in this campaign. Show girls that women can be strong and sporty and someone to look up to. Show the world that you don’t think the sum total of a woman is how much people want to look at her. We understand that advertising needs to be geared to your market to be successful and that men’s sports generally make more money than women’s. But your campaign makes it look like women don’t do sport at all! The advert does not represent women in culture today or tomorrow, it represents backwards stereotypes that would not look out of place in the 1950’s.

The “All in” campaign has been reported to be your biggest campaign ever, please don’t let it be your most sexist campaign ever, too.”

We appreciate any help you can give us with this campaign!

Best wishes,

Feminist Letters.

About feministletters

Gender inequality has gone on long enough. Its time to raise voices and shout out wherever inequality, sexism or violence against women occurs. This is our little corner of the world where we try and do just that. Will you join us? Join us on facebook at: Or follow us on twitter @feministletters We welcome comments and discussions from everyone. If you would like to contribute a post please email us at
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