Aerie stops Photoshopping its ads and everyone wins
Do you remember a few months back when ModCloth became the first retailer to sign the anti-Photoshopping pledge? That’s the bill that falls under the Truth in Advertising Act, an act that orders fashion companies not to physically alter their models in post-production. Remember?
Well there’s some more super good news for us anti-Photoshop folk (re: everyone who has ever felt bad because they didn’t look like a retouched-to-oblivion model in a magazine), Aerie (American Eagle’s lingerie company) has also kicked their Photoshop habit and business couldn’t be better. Earlier this year Aerie said goodbye to Photoshop for their spring campaign, recognizing that they had a responsibility to their target market (15-21 year old girls) to promote body positivity.
“They are still models, they’re still gorgeous, they just look a little more like the rest of us,” an Aerie brand representative said about the decision earlier this year on Good Morning America. “We’re hoping to break the mold . . . we hope by embracing this that real girls everywhere will start to embrace their own beauty.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” you tell me. “But this all happened MONTHS ago. Where’s the news in THAT?”
The news is that making their models feel more real made Aerie more money. A lot more money. Sales for the company have shot up 9 percent over the past quarter. That’s a significant uptick. It’s possible that a body-positive atmosphere is making young women feel more comfortable shopping at Aerie. It’s also possible that this advertising campaign was really effective in making young women more aware of Aerie as an underwear destination. Or maybe it’s just a big economic mystery that has to do with which way the North wind was blowing and the exact position of Mercury in the night sky during this past economic quarter.
In any event, what’s clear is that swearing off photoshop didn’t HURT Aerie. And it looks pretty likely that this bold choice actually helped make the underwear company more popular. Retailers take note: It’s not going to kill you to promote more realistic body types. Quite the contrary, this evidence points to body positivity giving businesses a boost. So wake up every other retailer out there and get on the anti-photoshopping train! It’ll make you feel awesome about your impact on the lives of women and you’ll make more money. What is there to lose?