Reseeding The Male Endorsement Needle: Wonderzine Editorial On Reebok Ads

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Reseeding The Male Endorsement Needle: Wonderzine Editorial On Reebok Ads
Reseeding The Male Endorsement Needle: Wonderzine Editorial On Reebok Ads
Video: Reseeding The Male Endorsement Needle: Wonderzine Editorial On Reebok Ads
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Yesterday, the Reebok brand unveiled the #NiVWhatFrames campaign, whose heroines are the creator of the telegram channel "Women's Power" Zalina Marshenkulova, European champion in wrestling Anzhelika Pilyaeva and MMA fighter Yustyna Grachyk. Photos of the heroines were accompanied by various slogans, from the bold ones like “Change from a needle of male approval to a man’s face” or “When they say“carry in my arms, I can imagine being carried in a coffin”to calmer ones like“Mom’s girlfriend's daughter”and“I am not finished."

The advertisement caused a wave of outrage on social networks - especially users did not like the hint of facesitting. A few hours later, Reebok deleted three posts with campaign photos and made one instead, from which some of the slogans disappeared. “Unfortunately, after the publication of some of the images, it became clear that some of the content could not be published on behalf of the brand according to the age policy of the social network. Nevertheless, the publications are still available in the accounts of the heroines of the campaign,”said Reebok. Wonderzine is pondering what the Reebok campaign is telling us and the reaction to it.

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Julia Taratuta

Chief Editor

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Now we can say for sure that the "women's" agenda in recent weeks has won out over other events. Social networks did nothing but discuss Gillette's repentance and the boundaries of what is permissible in Dau, and Zalina Marshenkulova and her face-sitting joke pushed both geopolitics and the President of Russia in the top of Yandex. Pragmatically, this is good news. Ethics and gender issues are no longer optional - they are now almost mainstream.

The joke the heroine snatched from her own twitter is not the wittiest thing I've heard in my life. And she is certainly far from the sexual revolution - you can talk about sex more subtly and further. Someone has already reminded the author that there is not so much courage in the "provocation" itself - it quite resonates with standard male fantasies.

Someone heard an aggressive imperative in it, someone - a struggle for power, and not a striving for equality. Is the promise to sit on your partner's face an invitation to pleasure or an attempt to humiliate? Opinions were divided. Talking out loud about cunnilingus is, of course, useful, but is it necessary to be rude?

If you are a woman and you sort things out with a system that treats you very badly, you can speak harsher or softer, it is a matter of habits and taste, but you cannot sound threatening and authoritarian even when you say “We are power here /“Female power” because in the absence of real power, this is no more than an energetic slogan.

So I don't see much crime in the campaign. In a society where a woman's long-term relationship with advertising is well described by the Belarusian New Year's Eve creative “Pine for a penny” (we are talking about buying a pine tree), a strong and independent female gesture always claims to be an event. Your body is in every sense your business, as Reebok wants to tell us. But the Russian management of the company cannot survive even a day of its own courage, punishing the creative group for what it had signed itself before.

The problem with this ad (remember, women's sportswear) for me is not that it overturns the stereotype or sows violence, is not written in the best style, is unaesthetic, or sounds like a threat. It seems to me that she still speaks to men - choosing words for them, annoying, provoking admiration or resentment. Women again have no place here, and they feel it unmistakably - after all, they have already gone through this many times.

Ksenia Petrova

growth and distribution editor

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I like Zalina's jokes and the facesitting joke in particular. We constantly joke in the editorial office and among friends in this way, and I consider talking in the spirit of "fu, so it is ugly" to be hypocritical.Most people joke about asses, boobs and sex - not always politically correct and not always successful, but what can you do about it. Many Russian women really are on the needle of male approval (otherwise Instagram would not show me an ad for shugaring and nails, and my boyfriend would not show promotions for business trainings and the “school of great books”). This is all so clear that it’s even boring - and our readers definitely don’t need to explain the details.

The problem, in my opinion, is that a joke from Twitter, taken out of context, and even more so repeatedly repeated, loses its meaning - for those who do not know Zalina, are not familiar with her nuclear style of presentation and memes about domination from the channel "Women's power”, the advertisement looks strange. In the Reebok campaign, the message is not read not only by the wide audience of the sports brand, but also by a narrow layer of feminists, who might like a visit about the needle of male approval. And the audience of Twitter and feminist telegram channels cannot be surprised by this joke, it is already several months old. Significantly, this is not the first unsuccessful attempt by Reebok to sell sneakers and sweatpants with a feminist slogan - just a few months have passed since the scandalous campaign about “diversity”, in which three slender girls talked about body positivity.

I do not think that this will somehow affect the "image of feminism" and "discredit the movement": commentators who thought feminists were fools will still think haters gonna hate. Moreover, this is also unlikely to affect Reebok's sales. Burger King is alive and well with its "look not aggravate". Most of all I was surprised that so many people have and express an opinion about the campaign - as it turns out, little is needed to blow up the Russian-speaking Internet.

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Sasha Savina

editor of the section "Life"

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It's great that today we have the opportunity to discuss feminist advertising made specifically for the Russian market - it seems that there was simply nothing to discuss five years ago. A corporation that has thought about the fact that women are a huge part of their clients, which means that their interests need to be taken into account, is always happy. It is good that the brand is trying to adapt the campaign for the Russian market and is working on it together with the heroine, who openly declares that she is a feminist.

You can argue for a long time how successful the decision was to use these particular phrases as slogans. It seems to me not entirely - primarily because the phrase, which looks good as a joke on Twitter, will most likely seem strange, incomprehensible and inappropriate to the wide audience of Reebok. Plus it has nothing to do with sports. Of course, a huge part of pro-feminist campaigns for sports brands is built around strength and self-confidence, which are also not always directly related to it, but here it takes an extra step to see the connection (“Covering your nipples so you don't cut yourself” - thanks to the sports bra?).

But all these are rather details: there are many people around me who found the campaign successful and witty, and everyone has their own arguments. The main thing that I want to pay attention to in this situation is how the corporation behaved when faced with the first negative reaction: photos with the most daring slogans were removed, leaving only “safe” ones like “My body is my business” or “Oh, Not all!". It seems to me that if you come up with an active feminist position and a bold advertising campaign, you need to go all the way, otherwise everything looks very insincere (especially considering the story of the September campaign of the brand). The main thing is that after the first failure the brands are not afraid to act further - otherwise nothing will really change in the advertising sphere.

Dasha Tatarkova

Deputy Chief Editor

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The case with Reebok is interesting to me, first of all, by how others react to advertising - and who exactly reacts, from those passing by on Facebook to the company itself, which first posted it on Instagram, and then cowardly deleted it.It seems to me that hypocrisy is hypocritical in this case: women have been objectified in advertising from time immemorial, literally comparing them with goods, reducing them to a sexual object and even "dismembering", but it is not this that outrages buyers (read: men), but criticism of this approach. Unfortunately, marketers are still convinced that "sex sells" and are ready to use this principle in all variants. So, probably, many are annoyed this time not by the sex itself (in the history of advertising, only the lazy did not turn to it), but the fact that this sex, first of all, is not aimed at men (speech in advertising, as I understand it, first of all, it is about female pleasure), and secondly, it does not fit into the usual notions of what this sex is. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the time of advertising non-sex goods with references to it is a thing of the past. Sexualizing everyone - men, women and more - as a way of selling, closes the door to other, more thoughtful approaches to your client. This, however, does not justify slatshaming in any form.

Most of all, she is outraged by the behavior of the company, which is not ready to take responsibility for its actions: to delete the post, leaving its heroine to take the rap for everyone, irresponsibly and unprofessionally. Not so long ago, Reebok found itself at the center of another scandal, and his attempt to rehabilitate himself could be counted if he stood to the end and unified front with the heroine of his advertisement. Gradually explained what was meant and why it was done this way - and would continue in the same spirit, and not try to please everyone (hello, Khabib). In the meantime, we are witnessing a disconnect between the audience and the message: there are fewer people familiar with Zalina's style than the brand's audience, without context the meaning of the joke is lost, and there is no one to explain it to the majority.

Unfortunately, brands often do not understand how to respectfully communicate with their audience, and Reebok is an example of this - just look not at Zalina and her joke, but at another campaign slogan: “Be human”. In the original it sounds like "BeMoreHuman" - roughly speaking, "find the best in yourself." However, we approved the translation "be human", and then stuck it, without thinking twice, to photographs of women. And now this already outrages me: what are you trying to say? That a woman before wearing Reebok was not a man? This adaptation of the English-language slogan seems to me a real failure, although the original can be interpreted in two ways.

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Margarita Virova

editor of the section "Beauty"

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I will immediately state my position on femvertising: this advertising trend does not strike me as something cool. This is a natural product of the transition of feminism to the mainstream: they talk about women's rights so much and so loudly that any sneeze on this topic will collect hundreds of reposts and is guaranteed to raise a storm on the Internet, and will also affect an audience far from the target. They started talking about feminist advertising as a general trend three or four years ago, and already in 2019 we see how big brands conquer the heights of absurdity. We did not have time to move away from the attempts of manufacturers of shaving razors to integrate into the current agenda, when the Russian division of Reebok took up the banner.

The #BeMoreHuman global campaign, by the way, is quite neat and toothless - their main competitors have already spoken out about female power, and over the past couple of years this style of campaigning aimed at women has become commonplace. Reebok Russia, on the other hand, decided to take a non-standard path and attracted not only a couple of athletes to the campaign, but also a public feminist Zalina Marshenkulova, who provided slogans and jokes to frame strong female figures. It seems to me that the main result of this collaboration is the amazing non-falling of the statements into the context of the brand legend. Was it you, Reebok Russia, who misunderstood the diversity campaign guidelines last year and recruited three fashionable girls to advertise? This time the managers apparently googled the "feminists of Russia", went to Zalina and decided that it was the author of the "Women's Power" channel that should be made a representative of the brand.

It seems to me that it worked badly both ways. The fact is that advertising is, in any case, a naive genre, popular print, and it is simply impossible to cram the long history and complexities of women's wrestling into it.Obviously, no one was going to humiliate men - all this facesitting grows out of irony over the fact that society considers all feminists without exception to be radical. But if on Twitter, where everyone is their own, such banter about labels may look subtle and appropriate, in the campaign of a pretentious brand it becomes simply frightening and incomprehensible. And Zalina herself receives threats and experiences unpleasant discussions. By the way, this girl created the great Breaking Mad and runs the most punk media in Russia - but that doesn't matter now, right?

It seems to me that the commercialization of the struggle cannot end well. In the process of discussions, many will sort things out with friends and satisfy the need for sofa activism, but femvertising still does not carry anything constructive. Especially if the "inspirational" ad is invented by people who are generally indifferent to women's wrestling.

By the way, last year I learned that the Sisters Center, an important Russian organization helping women who have faced violence, collects only 36,000 rubles in monthly donations. I suggest leaving the cunnilingus discussion for a while and making a regular donation on this page.

Dmitry Kurkin

editor of the section "Opinions"

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You can't even say that it is more indicative here. How the Russian representative office of an international brand once again works with a damaged phone, without reading the initial message of the head office (recently, the NYX branch distinguished itself in a similar way). Or the way his employees, who are still acting and without five minutes, rush about, look for the extreme, pass off hack as a concept and make up one more absurd excuse than the other - instead of calling a spade a spade.

But a good example, let it be a lesson for the next marketers who, deciding to ride on the topic of empowerment, slip into aggressive vulgarity. Apparently, you just need to step on some rake many times so that they stop pounding on the forehead. In the meantime, it's worth stocking up on popcorn and enjoying a stream of great jokes and variations of the great verbal construction "get off the needle of approval."

Photos: Reebok

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