In January, Aerie, the lingerie line under the American Eagle umbrella, set out to stop photoshopping the models for its ads. So no airbrushing, no retouching, no terrifying thigh gap. Since leaving in the visible “imperfections” that countless other brands erase (e.g. natural skin folds, soft bellies, tattoos, beauty marks, etc.), Aerie sales have been on a real “perfect” upswing.
With Aerie’s collection of bras, undies and sleepwear aimed at 15-21 year olds, the decision to go au naturel with its ads came from wanting to show loyal customers more realistic body and beauty standards. The strategy is clearly working as the company just reported a whopping 9% increase in sales last quarter.
While the young women featured in the Aerie ads are still models, they have not been tweaked into some computer generated version of “perfect,” a la Victoria’s Secret (and Weird Science). Rather they are imperfectly perfect simply shown as themselves.
The brand is also carrying its body positivity messaging across all of its marketing assets. According to Adweek, “Aerie has also photographed women of different body types modeling products for an online sizing guide to help shoppers visualize how any given style might look on someone with their bust size.”
On the one hand, we laud the progress. On the other hand, if a large part of the brand’s customer demo is teen girls, do we really need to be shoving the “sexy” down their throats already? Maybe Aerie’s “the real you is sexy” line is the one thing that could use a little tweaking in this picture.