Limitless Performance, Sexism Or Publicity Stunt?

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There are a lot of cycling brands trying to figure out the women’s market. It’s a massive opportunity that many brands have managed to get wrong because patronising color schemes, bad designs, and poor marketing. Some brands are inching closer to getting it right but want but if you’d like an example of a start-up immediately getting it wrong and insulting half of the world’s population, look no further than UK based Limitless Performance.

Two women riding on a nice summers day (riding awkwardly wearing crooked helmets that are too big for them)
Is that a skinsuit? No, their jerseys are painted on
A man riding a TT bike comes ripping past and looks at the women disparagingly (I didn't see the video, but from what I'm told he gets out of the saddle and sprints past)
"Aw shucks, we should just give up..."

Now the thought did cross my mind that this was some ill advised stunt to ensure their video went viral (which it would have), but within moments of offended twitterers voicing their strong opinions, the video was promptly taken down and cold water was poured on the fire:

Apologies our ‘tongue in cheek’ viral has landed badly to say the least so we have removed it from our site.

We were not insinuating that women can’t cycle. The British women were extremely successful at the 2012 Olympics and we are full of admiration for them and all women cyclists!

We were intending to make a light hearted viral to communicate that we just design for guys, NOT that women can’t cycle.

Apologies for any offense that has been caused.

The brand looks to have been established recently (domain registered in Oct-11 and website active in Aug-12) and are currently in their awareness stage. Something tells me that this may have been their desired outcome which puts Limitless Performance on the map (and yes, I’ve taken the bait). What interests me is that a brand would spend thousands of dollars to produce an advertisement (by Pendragon) that would certainly, without a doubt, offend so many women who have worked incredibly hard to raise the level and legitimise women’s cycling. Even though they currently do not make women’s clothing, they will now never make women’s clothing.

I do see the point of what the video was trying to make but the delivery of the message was severely misguided. If Limitless Performance is trying to tell their market that their range is just for men, there are more subtle ways of doing this. They got it so wrong that I still question if this was some sort of joke that I’m not getting or if this was entirely deliberate. Whether or not this ad personally offends me, regardless of what I think the kit looks like, as a male I would not want to be associated with this brand. No matter what their intent was, they should have known this from the beginning. How very Limitless Limiting…