The fashion PR world was shaken up this week when the lingerie brand Aerie (an extension of American Eagle), launched their Aerie Real Campaign. A campaign that pledges not to retouch its models.
My first reaction to this campaign was excitement – I love a brand that steps out of the box, and kudos to Aerie for taking a leap of faith with this one. I was especially proud of the overly positive reaction to this campaign, it’s great to see so many people in support of advertisements using real women to sell its products. It restored my faith in humanity a little bit.
But, as usual, when I’m excited about something, I’m really excited, and I like to see what everyone else in the industry is saying too. So I was disappointed to see some of the comments by ‘industry professionals’ posted on the campaign’s story on AdWeek.
My biggest issue with some of the comments was the constant comparison between this campaign, and the infamous Dove “Real Beauty” campaign. Yes, both campaigns convey a similar message, but a true professional would keep in mind the innate details that make these campaigns so different. Dove is a beauty brand, so many of their advertisements featured skin imperfections, particularly skin imperfections aimed at a much older demographic. (Wrinkles? Gray hair? No 18 year old is worrying about such things). On the other hand, the Aerie Real campaign is a fashion campaign marketed towards young women – this is clear right from the girly, pink font and young models used.
My second issue with the campaign’s commentary is the amount of negativity surrounding the use of these particular models. Some people seem to take issue with fact that some of the models are still “very skinny”. And while it may be true that none of the models used can be considered to be “overweight” by any means, I think these models depict a very healthy body type. Compared to the other top lingerie brands on the market these days, the Aerie brand is the only brand using models that don’t make me feel like I should cut sugar out of my diet and hit the gym more often. And given the increasingly large number of young women suffering from eating disorders, I think this campaign is exactly what the 14 – 24 age demographic needed to see.
So as much as I enjoy looking at those gorg Victoria’s Secret models, I’m ready to support a brand that doesn’t make me feel like I need to change how I look to be considered “sexy”. Who’s with me?