Hourglass Figure No More

Hashtags (#) have become a mainstream way for people to see what trending topics are popular at the moment, and also a way for people to click on their own hashtag and see who else is talking about the same thing. Consumers using peer-to-peer communication to talk about brands on social media is vital for a company’s success, since peers trust each other more than any other source. Lately, trends have been created more-so by bloggers and peer influencers than through traditional advertising.

Aerie (an underwear company) has effectively used hashtags to create conversation amongst their targeted demographic of younger women (teens through twenties) mainly through their chosen medium of Twitter. The hashtag #AerieREAL represents their campaign which has targeted average-sized girls who want to see their own body type reflected in models as opposed to the stereotypically beautiful size zero models. Their slogan “The Real You Is Sexy,” is showcased by getting everyday girls to model for them and not retouching their imperfections. They brilliantly appeal to most young women because the majority don’t have “perfect” bodies and want to wear Aerie’s underwear because they are inspired by so many women embracing their true selves. Aerie has created a lot of brand association with this hashtag and even encouraged girls to post untouched photos of themselves on Instagram using their hashtag. Sales went skyrocketing after this campaign and they even saw a 13% increase in new customers.

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This is an ad from the #AerieReal campaign on American Eagle’s website, showing women of many different body types.

On the flip side, some companies want to appeal to a fitter body type. While using women of all shapes and sizes works very well for Aerie, companies like Under Armour, or Nike for example, prefer to attract a fitter body type for both men and women. They often use Instagram to post pictures and videos of really slim or fit (and often well known) athletes to show that if you buy their shoes or other products, you can look like them too. Nike also has hashtags such as #justdoit and #nikewomen so when people post pictures with those hashtags, they can see others who have been inspired by the Nike lifestyle so much so that they promote the brand of their own free will. Nike actively uses Twitter and Facebook too to keep an ongoing conversation with their targeted demographic: athletes and aspiring athletes.

It doesn’t matter what body type a given company wants to target; what really matters is that they know where their audience is, what they want to see, and how they can reach them.

By: Alanna Goodman

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