The backlash against super-skinny models and “Angels” is escalating. With public reaction to body shaming showing more acceptance for every body type, more countries banning too skinny models from catwalks and catalogs, and success by more celebs with less than perfect physiques, it is clear that times are changing. So, the timing was perfect for the new Lane Bryant #ImNoAngel campaign, which takes dead aim at Victoria’s Secret and its angels.
The world needs more campaigns like Lane Bryant’s cheeky new lingerie advertising effort. It clearly is a response to Victoria’s Secret and particularly their widely criticized ads touting the “perfect body” on their so-called angel models. The lingerie giant was accused of “irresponsible marketing” for the campaign. The advertising effort was changed after 30,000 people signed a petition against the lingerie company’s negative, body shaming message.
Lane Bryant, which is a plus-size clothing company, has a new marketing campaign challenging the notion of skinny beauty with more curvy models trying to redefine sexy. The #ImNoAngel” campaign features a group of women in sexy size 14 to 28 undergarments. As Lane Bryant President and CEO Linda Heasley noted, “We’re definitely throwing curves” at the competition.
In the “#ImNoAngel” campaign, the models are posed purposefully to rebut the Victoria’s Secret “Perfect ‘Body’” campaign from last year. The group of models includes Ashley Graham, the size 16, 36-30-46 brunette who was the first “plus size model” to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. Other models included by Lane Bryant include Marquita Pring, Victoria Lee, Candice Huffine, Justine Legault and Elly Mayday.
Acknowledging that the “‘#ImNoAngel’ campaign is designed to empower ALL women to love every part of herself,” Lane Bryant wanted to she that women of all sizes can firmly believe that they are sexy, according to Heasley. They are encouraging women of all body types to feel confident.
Social media responded quickly last year to the Victoria Secret ad. Now, social media is lighting up with positive responses to the #ImNoAngel Lane Bryant campaign and the direct aim taken at Victoria’s Secret. For example, women are already using the hashtag #ImNoAngel and tweeting pictures of themselves, curves and all as sexy and not skinny. Model Graham used the hashtag herself on Instragram with the comment: “I redefine sexy by stating that Beauty Is Beyond Size!”
The campaign should resonate with the average American woman more than Victoria’s Secret’s, which is usually aimed at men. The average woman in the U.S. is a size 12 or 14, the latter of which is the smallest size carried at Lane Bryant. The typical Victoria’s Secret model is a size 0 or 2.
The use of larger models or at least more diverse body sizes is catching on for more than plus-size clothing lines. Calvin Klein used model Myla Dalbesio, who is a size 10, in its underwear ads last year. Huffine was featured in Pirelli’s calendar. Larger models were also seen on catwalks during New York’s and London’s Fashion Weeks.
While it cheekily takes aim at Victoria’s Secret, the key thing about the Lane Bryant #ImNoAngel campaign is it shows that women can be beautiful with a waist wider than 26 inches. It may or may not increase sales for Lane Bryant, but the dialog raised shows the ad is a success already.
By Dyanne Weiss