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Reebok Trolls Trump in Tweet About When It's OK to Comment on a Woman's Body

by Ben Popken /
Image:
Macron's wife, Brigitte Macron blows a kiss to the crowd, before Macron's inauguration ceremony.Yoan Valat / Pool via AP

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Reebok is drawing attention after tweeting out a humorous take on President Donald Trump's foot-in-mouth comments about Brigitte Macron, the wife of France's new president, made during a visit to Paris last week.

"You're in such good shape. She's in such good physical shape. Beautiful," Trump told the first lady of France inside the marble hall of the Hôtel National des Invalides museum, shortly after he arrived. The encounter was broadcast live on Mr. Macron's official Facebook account.

The off-the-cuff comments clip quickly made the rounds online and on TV, and drew rebuke from some corners.

Late Friday, Reebok unexpectedly stepped into the fray, tweeting out a tongue-in-cheek flowchart to help people decide when would be the right time to make the same remarks as Trump.

Are you in an elevator with a woman? Are you introducing yourself to your future mother-in-law? Are you a world leader greeting the spouse of a head of state? The proper decision in all those cases is no, the chart advised.

The only right time is if you just found "a forgotten action figure from your youth, unscathed after decades, in your parents' basement."

The post went viral, generating over 46,000 retweets and 79,000 likes by Monday morning. Some commenters applauded Reebok. Others chided it for alleged hypocrisy by using what they saw as suggestive female imagery in their advertising.

Communication experts said the shoe company's tweet was a bit of a surprise.

"Most brands try to stay away from politics," Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, told NBC News.

But others commented that while the tweet was a bold move, it wasn't a misstep, nor a reason for any customers to boycott the company — unlike the burning of shoes last year when a New Balance executive made a comment in favor of Trump abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

"It’s consistent with Reebok’s strategy of aligning the brand with active women," Scott Farrell, president of Global Corporate Communication for the Golin public relations firm, told NBC News in an email.

"Staying true to the brand’s DNA is often what separates brands who get criticized for moves like this vs. those who don’t," he added.

Reebok didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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