Ree-toning our Sexist Mindset

Posted: June 2, 2010 in Advertisements

This is Reebok’s latest advertisement for their line of EasyTone trainers. At first glance, it would appear as though Reebok is capitalizing on every man’s fantasy by casting well-toned and sexy ladies in their latest product advertisement. However upon further deliberations, I realized that this advertisement is actually targeted at the fairer sex.

Due to the social construct accompanied by the over-usage of “sex-sells” theory, we often relate any form of advertisements which include sexy women to be targeted at men. There is a certain degree of success and application of the “sex-sells” theory to this advertisement, considering it was that factor that caught my attention. However the main target audience is women, as the nature of product clearly defines. Of course, there might be a number of men who would buy the product as a gift.

Most of the advertisement focuses on a woman’s shapely calves as well as the sexy gyrating of her hips, which is an inferred result of using the product. The object in focus switches several times, but are all directed at the calves, buttocks, and the EasyTone trainers. The use of repetition is successful in relating well-toned calves and a sexy buttock to the product. The woman is also depicted in several different attires, namely shorts, panties, and a dress, which further complements her good figure.

Famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman.” Based on that philosophy, most women can relate to the appeal in viewing an advertisement whereby a fellow woman is glamorized; they will almost immediately believe that the product is effective, and they’d want to achieve even better results as part of their vanity . That is probably the main reason that Reebok has decided to feature a professional model in their advertisement. And that woman, is very famous in her own rights, no less.

The use of a celebrity often adds credibility and appeal to the demographic target; in this case, fellow women. That woman in the advertisement is none other than Kelly Brook, an English model and actress. Kelly began her modeling career at 16, and has won many accolades to date. She is also famous for a 50-feet billboard (said to be the biggest billboard in the world), which features her bust. With a portfolio of many successful lingerie commercials, Kelly was the ideal choice for Reebok’s advertisement.

Throughout the advertisement, non-verbal cues were the main form of communicating the product. The scarcity of verbal communication has strongly amplified the short verbal message, which emphasizes that the EasyTone is far more effective than any other trainers in achieving “better legs, and a better bum”. I find that this is an effective application of implementing both verbal and non-verbal communications in tandem.

Humor was also applied towards the end of the advertisement; it was used to further strengthen the belief that the buttock featured in the advertisement belongs to Kelly Brook (and not any other woman), and that Reebok EasyTone has helped her to tone her “legs and bums”.

If I was a female, I’d be sold on this product. Personally I think that Reebok has come up with a very intelligent advertisement which goes far beyond the sexist theory on advertising. What do you think?




  1. Rival from another University says:

    I think an interesting point to note is that in none of the shots were there any women or men ogling in awe at those women’s butts. Normally for other ads, like with shampoo, you would have a woman flicking a very shiny head of hair and there would be jealous onlookers or sexually aroused men going “NOW THAT IS A WOMAN WITH A FULL HEAD OF HAIR!” Reebok knows women know they want firm butts, and it isn’t necessary to show jealousy rearing its ugly head. Even if the shoes look more suited for the moon landing, or meeting an ambassador from another planet.

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      Rival from another University – The point that you raised is interesting and bears truth. It does seem that Reebok is adopting another stance in promoting their product. Though they’re using a sexy celebrity, they do not seem to be targeting men (which 90% of such ads tend to), and neither are they incorporating jealous onlookers to amplify the impact.

  2. wongqinhao says:

    sexist view is not just held by men. many people tend to forget, women themselves subject their ‘assets’ to be manipulated in a way that could garner them fame, wealth and others. they are aware of these sexist views and have come to embrace and accept it (for most women at least)

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      You brought up an insightful perspective. Isn’t it strange how women dislike men viewing them as ‘subjects of desire’ (which they deem sexist), yet allow themselves to be famous through their figure and sex appeal?

  3. -cL says:

    Much as guys like to look at beautiful women with good figures, women also do the same- except that we may be more subtle about it. i think that this advertisement is quite well done, in that it evokes feelings of jealousy in women, and make them want to have figures as good as those of the women in the ad. Women can be quite competitive, and Reebok is clever to have made use of this knowledge. There isn’t a need to have jealous spectators in the ad, because women are perfectly capable of feeling jealous on their own and without any influence. Just by looking at the ad with the gyrating hips of women with firm butts and good figures is enough to evoke this emotion, haha.

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      Finally an opinion from the opposite sex to confirm with our belief that women self censure, especially when it comes to their physical appearance. From the points that you raise, I am convinced that Reebok is successful in this advertisement. I wonder what their competitors will resort to next.

  4. Ling Yang says:

    From my peasant point of view, it was very unclear on what they are trying to bring across. It leaves me wondering what are they trying to sell –trainers or some butt-toning shorts? Or maybe, more unintended attention was given on those butts?

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      That’s an interesting observation there. Most males will likely pay more attention to the butt. Perhaps females will look at it at a high context which points to the trainers that help to give them shapely bottoms.

  5. Lan Yu says:

    Hey RawBean,

    Are butts the new breasts? 🙂 There seems to be a parallel between the desire for bigger “boobs” and tighter butts. Reebok did not go beyond the sexist theory in the advertisement, in fact, Reebok merely recast the boobs as the butts. If it is really not sexist and if they had really wanted to focus on the gluteus maximus they could have featured “Ellen Ripley” going around ripping the aliens apart in those shoes. 🙂

    The question is for whom the sex appeal if truly for, and the ad answer this question via the notion of the ‘male gaze’ – its hidden, yet all pervasive. You do not see a man, but you saw through the eyes of the ‘dude’, who cannot keep his eyes off the butts. 🙂

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      Your question has made rethink who the sex appeal was intended for. As a male I am naturally drawn to the sex appeal, but yet the ad was intended on using a woman’s sex appeal to attract other females. Indeed now it seems as though Reebok did not go far beyond the sexist theory. Thanks for the insight!

      • chris says:

        To be honest, I thought that the advert didn’t appeal to me. I’d probably nudge a female friend or something if this advert comes on, but I wouldn’t be moved to buy it for a girlfriend. To me, it’s just a really fun and quirky advert, nothing more. Unlike, say, Victoria Secrets stuff where they really amp up the sexual factor. Then again, perhaps it’s on purpose; people would feel more comfortable discussing this advert as opposed to a saucy VS commercial.

        • Rawbeanladen says:

          Personally I feel that this ad employed a novel method more than the traditional ‘sexy’ approach. As a male, I wasn’t persuaded to buy it for my girlfriend either, but nonetheless it caught my attention because of the novel way that it was delivered.

  6. JX says:

    Haha. I felt like I was squatting behind the model, following and watching her shake her buttocks. The model finally turned and smiled, “I know you are looking at my buttocks.” She was beaming with confidence and trying to tell all the female audience that they can attract men’s attention just like her.
    Personally, I think this has little relevance on the change in the sexist mindset. The product in the first place is targeted at women. Just like lingerie ads, it is trying to tell women that they can look as appealing as the model if they buy and use the product. I doubt men would buy the lingerie after watching the ad. However, this ad is clever in such a way that it didn’t tell the female audience directly what men want, but it provided the angle of view of a man, revealing his desire for a sexy figure, as well as his concealed fetish of peeking(peeping). I don’t think this shows a shift in the sexist mindset or the use of sex appeal, not until they stop using sexy female models to sell beer.

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      Yeap at first glance it seems as though they’re targeting men, but they actually have women as the target demographic. I agree with your ‘angle of view’ concept and men’s concealed peeping ‘fetish’, and it has given me further insights on how Reebok has made this advertisement successful.

  7. Felicia says:

    I personally don’t really like this advertisement and i won’t get this product as I don’t think those shoes can tone my butt or legs. It takes hard word or luck to get a perfect butt. They are just selling sex in this video but i however would get the product if they include what kind of exercise could be done while wearing the shoe that helps toning of the legs and butt… but if they could include what i stated above with the butt shaking thing. I would say they have done a fairly well advertisement.

    • Rawbeanladen says:

      Perhaps the lack of technicality failed to appeal to you. Nevertheless like you said this advertisement is successful in capturing our attention by using a novel attraction.

  8. I think this advertisement is indeed effective in promoting the product to women. However, it is slightly misleading as it creates a false hope for women of different sizes (with many having far from perfect figures). To reebok themselves, i believe their main motive is to sell that product, that is why they chooose to use such a famous model with a near perfect figure. They have indeed done well in their part of advertising.

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