Aerie, the sister store of American Eagle, recently released a new Spring 2014 lingerie advertisement campaign that has, “No supermodels. No retouching. Because … The real you is sexy.”
On photos first released by the campaign, models are shown un-photoshopped with their tattoos, natural curves and “imperfections,” with “#aeriereal” branded on each photo. One of the campaign’s first photos encompassed a letter from the Aerie company that read, “Dear Aerie girls, We think it’s time for a change. We think it’s time to GET REAL and THINK REAL. We want every girl to feel good about who they are and what they look like, inside and out. This means NO MORE RETOUCHING OUR GIRLS AND NO MORE SUPERMODELS. Why? Because there is no reason to retouch beauty. We think THE REAL YOU IS SEXY. Xoxo, aerie.”
ArieReal is not the first campaign of its kind. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, “Seventeen” magazine and “Verily” magazine have all been accomplices in “natural beauty” advertising campaigns.
“It’s about time,” Birgit Wassmuth, director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said. “We’ve been lying to the public for so many years. I remember the Dove campaign … but there hasn’t been anything that I can remember like that for years until now, with this campaign – the Aerie campaign.”
The motivations behind this campaign seem to be genuine and “real,” but will the new ad make any changes in the world of advertising?
According to a Huffington Post article by Ellie Krupnick, “The brand, founded in 2006, is aimed at the 15-21 year old demographic, meaning young women in high school and college.” This campaign, therefore, will reach ladies that are developing from girls into young women–an arguably crucial maturing point.
A study done by Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign team titled, “The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report,” revealed that “only 2 percent of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful.”
The negative effects of the media’s current portrayal of “beauty” are not only felt by women, but are also noticed by men.
“Women in today’s society, particularly young women our age, face a lot of self esteem issues because of men thinking that they should look more like supermodels or high class actresses, which they don’t need to,” Nick Strecker, sophomore in political science and pre-law, said. “They need to be themselves.”
Therefore, Aerie seems to be headed in the right, or “real,” direction. The next step in this campaign is to see how the public reacts as consumers.
“Like anything in advertising, (the campaign’s success is) up to the public,” Wassmuth said. “Everything and anything in an advertisement a public decides, and the public decides with money. If the public supports this idea, I know women will make an effort to purchase those products. And time will tell.”
Aerie’s new, “real” advertising tactic has been seen to have the ability to change shopping habits of potential customers.
“I typically don’t shop at Aerie, just because there’s not one here (in Manhattan),” Chelsea Murry, junior in life sciences and pre-nursing, said. “But, if I go home, I’ll go there instead of Victoria’s Secret. I think the campaign would make me want to shop there more than Victoria’s Secret, just because of the message they’re putting out now.”
The motivation behind Aerie’s “Get Real” campaign has proved to be a very real and detrimental issue with young women. What is left to see now that the company has launched their new campaign is not just the public’s reaction, but if Aerie stays loyal to its new values.
“I think the company has absolutely nothing to lose; as long as they really, 100 percent, stick to what they say,” Wassmuth said. “I would hate to see, a few years or months from now, some investigative reporter finding out and analyzing some of these pictures, and saying, ‘Wait a minute guys, you lied to us.'”