Stephanie Gilmore, the faceless blonde caressed by the camera in a controversial surfing ad from Roxy sports apparel, is a five-time world champion surfer, but you wouldn't know it by the commercial. She doesn't surf in the spot; instead, the lens surfs her.
That's why Roxy's ocean-sprayed cheesecake to promote its Pro Biarritz 2013 surfing meet is one big wipeout, according to critics.
As the video below shows, there are bed shots of the surfer, shower shots of the surfer but not one wave-riding image. The closest one features rivulets sliding off her bottom as she paddles through the water.
Keeping Gilmore anonymous was supposed to pique curiosity (she was later revealed in a companion video); instead it stirred up backlash.
Social media objectors swelled. One commenter on Roxy's Facebook page wrote: "guess which brand I will not choose for my bikini, my rash guard, or any accessories this year ? Hint: it's a brand which released an excessively stupid and sexist video recently..."
Critics from press outlets also had their say. In asking why female athletes had to be sexualized, self-described "surf addict" Tia Calvo noted in the Guardian: "This little voyeuristic semi soft-core porn clip is representing a professional sport which has been fighting a long and ongoing battle for gender equality."
AdWeek found the marketing to be less than tubular as well, observing: "Coming from a company that claims to speak to female athletes, the teaser video pretty much ignored athletics for blatant eye candy."
The industry trade also took Roxy to task for its "non-committal word salad," in which it told its ticked-off Facebook page visitors, "You certainly don't have to be sexy to be an athlete, & we also believe it's not wrong to be an athlete and to be sexy, if you choose to be. "
What do you think of the ad? Leave your thoughts below.
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