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Under American Eagle Outfitters's Wikipedia page

Aerie REAL is a body image campaign launched by Aerie in spring 2014 in response to American Eagle Outfitter’s announcement in January 2014. AEO released news that it was going to discontinue using supermodels and digitally retouching its models to encourage positive self-image. [1] The Aerie REAL campaign features models in all sizes, along with their beauty marks and tattoos. The campaign runs on the hashtag #aerieREAL using Instagram and Twitter as its major drivers. Users who upload and tag their photos with #aerieREAL are featured on The #aerieREAL gallery not only reveals photos of its consumers in their Aerie apparel, but also matches their outfit to in-store items allowing others to shop the look. Additionally, the #aerieREAL movement consists of an online bra guide that showcases cup sizes 30A through 40DD worn by models with similar body types. The personalized shopping experience further includes a “Real Girl Talk” hotline with style and fit experts. [2] Aerie is tapping into Twitter, Google+ and other social media platforms to initiate conversations and provide advice to its audience. The question “What does #aerieREAL mean to you?” is garnering the attention of Aerie’s large online community across Facebook, Twitter and other channels.

The cause campaign targets women between the ages of 15-21 years old, namely in high school and college. Their motto, “the real you is sexy” is a stepping stone to encouraging unretouched beauty within the fashion industry. The company aims to empower young women to be confident in their bodies by offering them the chance to discover the style that fits them best. Aerie REAL has received coverage by various news medias, drawing both praise and criticism on its initiative. While most are commending the company’s efforts on supporting real beauty, critics call the delivery weak-- stating that there is a lack of diversity represented. [3] Asians and darker African Americans have yet to be revealed in the advertisements. Although Aerie is promoting more realistic standards of women, critics have noted that the imperfections on the newest Aerie models are minimal. The company has replaced their supermodels with approachable young women with a single mole, freckles, or a tattoo. [4]

Under Cause Marketing's Wikipedia page

The aerie REAL movement is a social cause campaign that promotes natural beauty. Using its signature hashtag, the company garners the attention of millions on Twitter and Instagram. When users upload an image of themselves and tag it with #aerieREAL, they are promoting aerie’s brand and products to their friends and family. In doing so, they are performing free labor as brand ambassadors. Aerie is using social media to create a new opportunity for rebranding. Supporters have embraced the brand message and joined together as a online community. Aerie’s Twitter and Instagram communities are engaging in peer production by supporting the aerie REAL cause with their uploads, shares, likes and comments. Yochai Benkler would argue that aerie is engaging in ideological work by investing in a good cause, but also relying on its social media fans to serve as activists for its healthy body image campaign. By targeting “the average woman,” Aerie uses real people and real stories to strengthen their brand image. [5]


  1. ^ "Intimates Line aerie Gets Real, Unveils "aerie Real" Spring 2014 Campaign Featuring Unretouched Models, Challenging Supermodel Standards". PR Newswire. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Prosper, Ivy. "Aerie Challenges Supermodel Standards with Unretouched Ad Campaign". Canada Press. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Dike, Janey. "Aerie's "No Photoshop" Ads Still Don't Cut It". Uloop Inc. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Ippolito, Nina. "American Eagle Won't Photoshop Models. But This Isn't "What Girls Really Look Like."". Mic Network Inc. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Dockterman, Eliana. "American Eagle Stops Photoshopping Models for New Lingerie Campaign". Time Inc. Retrieved 10 June 2014.