Muc-Off attempted a playful Instagram ad for its Scrubber Gloves, infusing it with a touch of double entendre, but the response has been varied.
“Hands On Cleaning! Give that grime a beating with both hands,” read the post. “These silicone bad boys are all about rapid, hands-on action. Spray, scrub, and show that filth who’s boss with Scrubber Gloves!”
The accompanying video depicts a male mechanic giving an exceptionally thorough cleaning to a bike. There are obvious sexual connotations, with references to nipples and orifices, and a hint of phallic symbolism.
What was intended as a playful and unconventional approach did not resonate positively with everyone.
Lots of strong opinions
“It’s 2024; surely you could come up with a marketing plan that was more inclusive to anyone other than basic men who like to oversexualize everything,” emwormald commented. “Yes, it may get the likes and engagement, but is this really the target audience that you want your brand to only attract? It definitely repulses a lot of other audiences who also need to clean their bikes.”
Lizeking28 was not pleased, saying, “Yuk! Muc-Off, you need to use your own product to clean your minds! This video is a bit much! I hope you read the comments and see that, although the video appears harmless, it actually feeds into a damaging narrative for many a person that rides bikes… the oversexualization of something that just makes some people feel unsafe. I look forward to your response.”
Literal bike porn
Amidst the controversy, there were some positive remarks. Shredhead.official commented, “Up the steer tube was wild!” s_a_r_a_h_t jokingly referred to it as, “The perfect Valentine’s gift.”
Ivannchauve271 chimed in, “That is really bike porn!”
For bennyc801, the ad was a hit. “Fantastic lol, I will be buying these gloves; this perfectly normal and acceptable, harmless and funny ad sold me on them.”
Jack__reed_ raised concerns about the nature of the content. “Muc-Off, here we go again with the heteronormative, masculine, and sexualized narrative that rips apart any notion of cycling being a space for everyone. Symbolically, this video, from the T-shirt to the sexualized and erotic nature of putting a finger inside a crank(!), demonstrates everything that is wrong with the cycling and motocross industries.”
Some saw it as symbolic of the deep connection people have with their rides. “The way I look at my bikes, this feels about right,”…