In an effort to engage more customers Victoria’s Secret began a “Perfect Body” campaign. The slogan was, Perfect Fit. Perfect Comfort. Perfectly Soft. The problem arose with the image they chose to use featuring what they believed to be a mixture of female body types. What upset people was that the models Victoria’s Secret chose to use were not exactly a correct representation of body size. Individuals dissatisfied with the campaign began tagging themselves as having a “perfect” body. Their message? Every body is perfect; Suggesting Victoria’s Secret should display and sell a larger variety of sizes. The media backlash caused the campaign to stop prematurely. It’s yet to be determined if they learned a lesson. Whether of not their sales suffered is unclear. Though their campaign did not include those either very small or very large, the primary negative publicity was about the latter, who are also those whose sizes are not hanging on the racks in stores.
Similar to the negative feedback received by the Victoria’s Secret campaign was a UK supplement company, Protein World, who for weeks had a subway campaign promoting their energy drinks with large signs featuring a fit blonde woman in a bikini standing next to the lettering, “Are You Beach Body Ready?” (featured image)
The result was the same, people took to social media posting themselves in their bikinis with hashtag beachbody.
It’s certainly not out of character for companies to prey on individuals insecurities or capitalizing on diet culture by shaming those who don’t have the Protein World described “beach body” into buying product to have a different body, but these two campaigns are good examples of how society can push back.
The community reaction to these campaign means people are beginning to get tired of a culture that tells them what they should be. They are using social media to reply to the companies and say, We’re not buying it.We are happy with who we are. These hashtag activists are doing a service for the next generation who may grow up in a more body image inclusive commercial culture.