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American Eagle Outfitters' marketing pledge to never photoshop its models pays off


By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

May 23, 2016 | 4 min read

American Eagle Outfitters' decision to stop photoshopping models in ad campaigns for its Aerie lingerie brand has paid off after the brand revealed a huge surge in sales.

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Two years ago the US clothing retailer sided with popular opinion when it announced that its advertising for Aerie would use models of all size and shapes and would portray them in a true light without any photoshopping.

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Regardless of whether move was motivated by altruism or pushing sales it has reaped rewards for the brand. Since the launch of the #AerieReal campaign, the company has enjoyed impressive growth with the Aerie line which grew by 20 per cent year-over-year. The upward trajectory has continued into 2016 with a 32 per cent increase in sales, a 20 per cent growth on the same quarter last year.

The campaign has been helped along the way by growing trend in popular culture of using models which better represent the average woman as well as major celebrities publicly criticising photographers and publications for unrealistically manipulating their bodies.

Actress Rumer Willis recently called slammed Vanity Fair photographers Mark Williams and Sara Hirakawa for allegedly photoshopping her jaw in a photo while HBO’s Girls creator Lena Dunham accused Spanish magazine Tentaciones of editing an image of her which appeared on the publication’s cover.

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