First, high-end stroller maker Bugaboo caused a firestorm on social media after using a picture of bikini-clad model Ymre Stiekema jogging with her 2-year-old daughter. Now it's trying to mend fences with critics who say the ad perpetuates sexism toward women.
In a press release, the company argued that it designed the Bugaboo Runner that Stiekema was using "with active parents in mind." It added that the ad campaign features parents of both sexes "who love running," even though an ad featuring a dad has him dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. The photo shoot was done by Vogue Netherlands, which worked in conjunction with Bugaboo on the campaign.
"We believe that all parents should run free no matter where they are on their fitness journeys and what they choose to wear on their runs," the statement said.
Writing for Adweek, Rebecca Cullers took a philosophical tone regarding the controversy, noting that she gave birth to her second child a few weeks ago and understood the feelings the picture generated in women, ranging "from intense personal pressure to bona-fide self-loathing (that) you can have when you look at a Prada model running in a bikini behind a stroller."
Cullers added: "As an advertiser, I could also recognize why you'd hire the most attractive person you could find to hawk your goodies and sex up the pictures to whatever socially acceptable amount you can get away with."
Reaction on Twitter and Facebook was divided. Some argued that the picture promoted unrealistic female body images. A few self-described runners said they would never exercise in the outfit Stiekema wore. Others accused the critics of being jealous of Stiekema's athletic physique. A few found the whole situation amusing.
"I'm not sure how many moms are gonna be inspired by this pic, but for sure a thousand dads are gonna go out there with their kids if a runner dressed like this is running with them," said one Twitter commenter.
Stiekema, 23, didn't respond to a CBS MoneyWatch message left with her modeling agency, DNA Models, seeking comment for this story.