Worthy of Outrage?

I’m typically not the guy who is attracted to protests or getting “worked up” over something that bothers me. My default response is usually “that’s too bad” or “that’s dumb” or “that’s going to get someone fired”… but, I usually don’t do much more than that.

This ad by Reebok is eliciting a little stronger reaction from me.

This ad by Reebok is eliciting a little stronger reaction from me and I’m not exactly sure why:

  • Maybe it’s because I just talked to a 20-something who is going thru the pain of a boyfriend cheating.
  • Maybe it’s because one of the 10th grade boys that was at my house last night (in my small group) has had his family destroyed as a resulting of a cheating parent.
  • Maybe it’s because I’m just tired of seeing families and key relationships destroyed by sin.
  • Maybe it’s because I’m frustrated that cultural messages are so strong/powerful/influential to the audience that I’ve committed my life to serve.

I’ll get back to you on why this one seems to bother me more than others. I need to think a little more.

In the meantime, I know I can teach good theology by pointing out bad theology. I also know that I follow the One who will ultimately win these battles and today feels like Friday… and I know Sunday (Easter) is coming (literally and metaphorically).

Question: What do you think? Does this ad bother you? Why or Why not? I’d love to learn from you. Share here.

[Are you getting Doug’s daily blog in your email inbox?] If not, it’s real easy–go here.

  • D Avery

    Man, how sad. Reebok needs to think about the impact they have. Teens are taken this in every time they see it, and unfortunately accepting as the norm too much. We live in a society where the divorce rate is high and people don’t trust each other, I get that. But to exploit a bad idea that has unfortunately become to common to sell shoes, just saddens me. So glad I have God in my life. I will be celbrating 14 years of marriage this month and through Him I look forward to many more.

  • Pihaley

    DISLIKE. It’s appalling. Shame on Reebok.

  • http://joyfullyblessed.wordpress.com/ Bekah

    I think the reason it bothers me so much is the way in which it makes it sound like that’s what the girlfriend is for.  Workouts aren’t meant to be cheated on, but it implies that girlfriends are.  You know they could never get by with saying something like “Cheat on your math test not your workout.” It would never fly.  Yet, we let something… someone be degraded and yes, it makes me mad.  My next question is what do we do about it?  If nothing else, I guess it just is encouragement for all of us to keep working hard pouring truth into the lives of those around us… to step up to the fight and trust that our God is so much more powerful. 

  • Tim Nelson

    I think it is. So much so, that I wrote them on their website.
    I said this:
    I am a fan of Reebok and have been for a number of years. I like your style, uniqueness, and quality of product. 

    However, one thing i don’t approve,like, or endorse is an ad i saw by Reebok that stated this:, “Cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout”

    i understand the idea behind it of encouraging people to stick it out when it comes to getting in shape, but seriously, cheat on your girlfriend?

    as a mentor to middle school students, how can i endorse Reebok, when they endorse cheating. when half of their parents are going through a divorce or have already gone through one.

    i may sound like a 60 year old grandma, but I’m actually a 26 year old male, and i don’t approve of this type of advertising. 
    i also don’t think it is true to reebok and the core values they stand behind. 

    the next generation is looking for leaders to learn from, and this is not the way to capture their attention.

    if you have any comments or questions, please reply.

    -Tim NelsonYou can reach reebok here: http://shop.reebok.com/US/customer-service/contact-us I encourage us all to. 

  • Maryo

    I keep hearing about the Republican War on Women.  How about the cultural war on relationships/families and in this case the woman in the relationship?  This is a subltle message directed at teens and young adults that says it is not only okay to cheat but it is hip to do so.  Were are the feminists on this one? 

  • Bryan


    Looks like Reebok has pulled the add campaign. The damage is done but at least they’re pulling it.

  • Juiceplus4life

    Yes it bothers me too. Our world is going the opposite way in everything and thinking its ok. what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right.. I think I’m going to write a letter to Redbook.

  • Ichthus9

    It does bother me though it’s not surprising.  It seems to be an accurate litmus test of how our society views commitment, love, & responsibility.  Everything should be secondary to me being happy, satisfied, and comfortable.  It’s extremely sad & I appreciate how you connected the real effects or just a mind set; broken families, heartache, & an ever increasing weight upon those that desire Christ & his peace to come into people’s lives.  Thanks for catching what I & many others would simply have left as “that’s dumb”

  • Stevep

    It’s just another case of a company that trails in its quality and its success trying to increase market share by appealing to the worst in us … If I bought Reebok stuff, I’d stop… but I’ve never considered it a brand I wanted to buy… now I’d consider it a brand worth opposing… You should be bothered by this … for all the reasons that you stated and more…

  • http://twitter.com/6drews Mike Andrews

    “Well hey, let’s be honest… those abs aren’t going to sculpt themselves. If you want to look good, you’re going to have to work hard at it. But relationships should be easy and always make you feel good. If the relationship gets difficult, just quit and find someone else who really values all that hard work you put in at the gym…”

    What a sad commentary on the value our culture places on relationships. Throw away people, but make sure you look good doing it.

  • Mrsflo05

    Because of the influence media has on everyone as a whole so many would look at this and literally take it to heart. Very sad how the world so easily brushes aside “Values”.

  • Renee

    I’m pretty confident this ad would never say “cheat on your boyfriend.” I feel sick about the message this sends to young men as well as ladies. 

    Men: value yourself above women, value your own desires for looking good and having sex over fidelity and health/wisdom, and women are objects, not children of God. 
    Ladies: you’re trash. 

    This kind of stuff gets me so worked up! I came from a home ruined by a cheating dad, and I’m a mother of a young girl (and another on the way) working to have a solid marriage and to teach them wisdom and their true worth and identity.  I’m also a woman in full time ministry that often feels either objectified/paraded around or ignored and devalued based on my gender. Feeling this kind of stuff outside the church is bad enough, but when this thinking– let’s face it, it’s everywhere– sneaks into (even if just subconsciously)  the church, it’s even more frustrating. 

    This ad is certainly not the message of Christ that my team and I work so hard to teach our students. This is subtle messaging is exactly how the serpent operated… subtlety produces some pretty serious consequences. And when young people think this is funny or normal, it breaks my heart. We’ve seen and experienced where this road leads. 

    Let’s commit to praying for folks in advertising that have so much influence!

  • josh

    truly sad that they went this far. complete dislike!

  • Sonnon
  • http://twitter.com/samgamgee Tom Roepke

    its troubling and only reflects the messiness of our world…and i’m guessing the reaction we’re both sensing is from our pastoral hearts walking with students who are feeling directly the result of that misguided logic.  good post.

  • Tnowell

    The problem is that advertising executives use our sin nature to pull us in the same way satan uses it. Now where do you think they got that from.

  • Astrogod07

    Doesn’t bother me a bit.  Reebok is obviously not advocating that boys cheat on their girlfriends.  It’s just one of those phrases a buddy might say to you if you tell him you’re gonna skip going to the gym today.  I see nothing malicious or offensive in this.  No one looks to advertisements for moral encouragement, nor should they.

    • Wynchypoo

      It doesn’t treach respect, and yes people do use advertisements for moral encouragement an value of life ‘ why else do we have so many commercials and magazines promoting body image, cars, etc… in fact we should have more ads, commercials on family values maybe we won’t have so many broken homes

  • Tricia Oaks1

    I think the reason it’s offensive is because it sounds like an imperative. They could’ve gone with: “Don’t cheat on your girlfriend, or your workout.”

  • Wertabs

    It makes me sad because it shows there is less importance placed on hurting someone than on keeping your body beautiful.

  • wildlyjumping

    I feel people are missing the point. The ad is promoting health over trivial relationships. It did not say “wife” or “spouse”. It’s essentially rejecting the idea of romance over exercise. It’s rejecting the feminine (relationships) for the masculine (active, tough manly lifestyle). It’s a little brute, but I don’t feel like this will inspire people to cheat. And if someone cheats because of a poster like this, then they were probably going to cheat anyway…

  • Wynchypoo

    I agree it is offensive! Our teens and young adults are easy prey of influence of this type of ad, and others. We need more positive ads of family values, and ones to teach these young ones respect, which many lack.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000716227428 Tom Page

    Well I am sure this is probably the reaction they wanted by throwing a provocative ad out there.   It confirms what a broken world we live in and will continue until Christ return.  I think Tricia’s line would have been a lot better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000017453999 Eli Dorado
  • Ben

    This makes me sick. The world is giving our students the idea that it is more important to worry about your physical bodies. I understand that we are God’s Temple, but things of this earth are temporary. They want your number one priority to be yourself, and put all relationships below it.

  • Josh Griffin

    Stole this and used in in my sermon this weekend in HSM. Thanks, Doug! JG

    • dougfields

      What else is new is JG?
      J/K: you’re the best… it was a great message.

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  • turzy

    I am separated right now, because of a cheating husband.  He cheated 3 years ago and I have spent these last three years trying to repair my marriage and learn to trust him again – doubting myself – trying to live up to higher standards than just my feelings – only to find out that he was not worthy of trust.  I still have not rushed to the lawyers. When my pastor asks why – if I don’t trust him and feel freer having him out of the house – i found myself responding, “because my marriage vows meant something”  –  something  I fought for for three years to no avail, so this is going to take a while, I’m afraid.  Oh and yes, we have a child  – this ad is a slap in the face.

    • dougfields

      I am so sorry to hear of your pain. I can totally see how something this insensitive can bring up concerns.