For many Aerie’s advertising campaign #AreieREAL has been a breath of fresh air. Aerie, a lingerie/swim company for a younger consumer, has begun not only using unretouched photos but also models of all shapes and sizes. The campaign, beginning in spring 2014 has created quite a discussion around not only consumers but also retailers when the company reported an increase in sales of 20% from the previous year alone (2015).

screen-shot-2016-09-17-at-10-50-46-pm (https://www.ae.com/featured-aeriereal/aerie/s-cms/6890055)

Aerie was able to take a step back and think of there consumer and challenge the norms to give them what they needed. Aeries target consumer is a young high school female whom is constantly bombarded with images of size 2 models (even though the national average is a 14).  In the age of social media Aerie’s consumer has more access to ‘real’ photos, which are also easily Photoshopped, this was another area #AreieREAL was able to reach. Aerie  started encouraging consumers and influencers to share unretouched and real photos with #AreieREAL in the caption. This was in hopes to not only encourage real photos but also continue the body positive conversation. Aerie saw this as a chance to stand alone as a retailer and positively influence their consumer by showing healthy relatable body types (a win win).

The success of this campaign raises a lot of questions for the future of retail.
Will we see more companies follow in Aerie’s footsteps and use real and diverse models?
if so, can they to be successful? is Aerie doing enough? will the sales increases continue for Aerie?…the list goes on, all we know now is the positive impact #AerieREAL is making on the consumers is one that is bringing them great success.

Although the campaign has been under fire after the company released a mock video ad implying #AerieMan, using unretouched photos for men’s swimwear as well, would begin soon in American Eagle, it has remained an all around potivie influence. The company has also released since the ad that they plan to implement unretouched male models by holiday 2016.

Written by Hailey Turner