Soccer Team's Sexy Ad Offends Sponsor (Video)

Canadian phone giant BCE turns thumbs down to Vancouver pro soccer team's body-painting commercial.

TORONTO – Internet surfers approved: the Vancouver Whitecaps FC pro soccer team saw a promotional online video featuring a young woman being spray-painted with a team uniform, and with the Bell logo across her breasts, go viral on

The problem is Bell-parent BCE, a Canadian phone giant and a major sponsor of the Whitecaps as they debut in the pro league on March 19, wasn’t impressed with the hyper-sexualized depiction of women to sell soccer tickets. “We understand that they’re an exuberant new team eager to get the word out, but this marketing effort clearly didn’t fit with Bell’s expectations,” Marie-Eve Francoeur, a BCE spokeswoman, told the Globe and Mail newspaper Wednesday. “We’ve spoken to the Whitecaps about this issue and they clearly understand our position,” she added.

The soccer team has put one promotional video on each day in the lead-up to its March 19 opening game. But the body-painting video has captured around 40,000 hits to date, with none of the other videos surpassing 3,000 views. The Whitecaps also body-painted the Whitecaps FC kit, or uniform, onto a model for a billboard campaign in downtown Vancouver.

Whitecaps director of marketing Kim Jackman defended the provocative promotional video as demonstrating “the passion soccer fans have for their sport, including the tradition of body-painting and how it is done.”

Check out the video below.