Reebok slammed for 'cheat on your girlfriend' ad campaign
CheaterVille.com, a US website dedicated to exposing cheaters around the world, wrote a letter to Reebok headquarters threatening to boycott the sports brand unless the ad was removed immediately.
"This form of advertising shows a dishonest and disrespectful attitude towards women and your company should be ashamed to have even placed this ad in various places thinking it would be perceived in any other way,” said the letter from CheaterVille.com founder James McGibney.
"CheaterVille will not stand by and let you keep this ad running without a fight. We will start informing our millions of followers to boycott Reebok until the ad is removed and a public apology is given."
Reebok spokesperson Dan Sarro told CBSBoston.com that the ad was not part of a global marketing campaign and had only appeared in Germany.
“We regret that some offensive Reebok materials were recently printed," he said.
“The signs were removed as soon as we were made aware of them. I can assure you that Reebok does not condone this message or cheating in any way. We apologize for the offensive nature of these materials, and are disappointed that they appeared at all,” the statement said.
The Reebok ad was one of the latest failed attempts of parent company Adidas to boost the sales of the struggling sports brand.
Late last year Reebok had to pay $US25 million ($23.8 million) in customer refunds to settle charges of false advertising over the claim that its toning shoes worked better than normal footwear in getting muscles into shape.
Adidas bought Reebok in 2006 for $US3.8 billion but falling sales was causing concern for a potential turnaround of the brand.
Sales dropped 3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, a sharp fall from a 15 per cent sales increase in the fourth quarter of 2010.
In Adidas’s 2011 annual report, CEO Herbert Hainer said they planned to turn Reebok around by finding a "clear consumer understanding of what the brand truly represents".