The advert, which was posted on Twitter and on posters, received 24 complaints. Twitter did not delete the post because it was found not to have breached its terms of service.
An Adidas sports bra advert that featured nudity has been banned by the standards authority.
A tweet, which was posted in February, showed the bare breasts of 20 women of various skin tones, shapes and sizes, with the caption: “We believe women’s breasts in all shapes and sizes deserve support and comfort.
“Which is why our new sports bra range contains 43 styles, so everyone can find the right fit for them.”
Two posters showed similar images and stated: “The reasons we didn’t make just one new sports bra.”
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 24 complaints that the ads’ use of nudity was gratuitous and objectified women by sexualising them and “reducing them to body parts”.
Some of the complainants also challenged whether the posters were appropriate for display where children could see them.
Adidas UK said the adverts were intended to “reflect and celebrate different shapes and sizes, illustrate diversity and demonstrate why tailored support bras were important”, adding images were cropped to protect the identity of the models, who they say volunteered to be in the campaign.
Some users reported the post to Twitter, according to the social media company, but it was not found to be in breach of its terms of service.
The ASA said: “Although we did not consider that the way the women were portrayed was sexually explicit or objectified them, we considered that the depiction of naked breasts was likely to be seen as explicit nudity.
“As the ads contained explicit nudity, we considered that they required careful targeting to avoid causing offence to those who viewed them.”
Adidas said: “The gallery creative was designed to show just how diverse breasts are, featuring different shapes and sizes that highlight why tailored support is paramount.
“It is important to note that the ASA ruling was related to this creative being used in an untargeted fashion on email / banner ads etc, rather than the creative itself and the message, which we stand proudly behind, and it is exhibited on adidas.com.”