Nike’s Ads With Curvy Models Creates Instagram Sensation

Nike’s new campaign for sports bras has created a furore on Instagram by representing their brand with curvaceous, voluptuous women rather than the usual size 8 skinny girls. Of particular note is that Nike has not labelled the women in the advertisement as being plus size, indicating that all shapes and sizes are accepted and sending positive body image messages for women. Nike is normalising images of curvier women.

Image by Refinery29. Paloma Elsesser
Image by Refinery29. Paloma Elsesser

The Nike campaign involved several images posted on the Nike Instagram page which is 4.8 million followers strong. Images of curvier women are especially unusual in active wear advertisements, but by showing these images, and not labelling them in a category of plus size, Nike is sending messages of inclusivity and body image positivity. It also promotes the idea that larger women are fit, exercise and work out.

In the Nike ad is model Paloma Elsesser who is a plus size model for New York’s Muse Management. Pictured wearing a bra and leggings, an image of Paloma is captioned with tips on how to tell if you have the correctly fitted sports bra. Claire Fountain, also pictured, is a yoga instructor for Trill Yoga.

Many Instagram users showed their enthusiasm, with positive responses to the Nike campaign.

“Kudos for showing a real woman. I say keep it coming! Woman of all sizes deserve fabulous fitness clothes. Thank you and thank you for the innovation and technology to keep our breasts looking and feeling great as we work out.”
“Let’s hear it for the curvy, sexy, sporty women,”
“This is a great post and a big step towards true body equality.
“Love love love! I know a few brands who could learn from this ad,”
“Not everyone is an athlete! Hats off!”
“Well done Nike! Let’s get rid of body shaming and say hello to being healthy, good support is step one in creating a healthy lifestyle no matter what your body shape is.”

Image by Refinery29. Claire Fountain

Unfortunately, the range of active wear being promoted only come in sizes up to an E cup, XL or 40E. These sizes are not big enough for all plus size women. Some users accused Nike of hypocrisy by advertising for plus size women without providing the sizes that would fit them.

‘This is all very well but the cup sizes only go up to an E cup!’
‘Fine if you happen to be a larger woman with smallish boobs (relatively) but not good for those of us who aren’t as large but have proportionally larger busts.’

What are your thoughts on the campaign, is it a positive initiative or have Nike not been as considerate as they could have been?