Size zero not the hero
If you’re a creative looking through pictures of waify models for your next campaign, think again.
According to a study conducted by the University of Queensland‘s Phillippa Diedrichs, advertising that uses super-thin models does not make women more likely to buy products than ads featuring women who are of a more healthy weight, according to research by an Australian academic.
Diedrichs created a series of ads for underwear, a haircare product and a party dress. Each ad was made twice, once using a size eight model and the other featuring a size 12 model.
When Diedrichs showed the ads to 400 young people, she found no difference in the likelihood of respondents buying the advertised products depending on whether they had seen the skinnier ad or the one showing the bigger woman, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
However, the study did show women aged between 18 and 25 felt better about their own body image if they had viewed the images of the larger models than those shown the thinner women.
“For anything to change, research has to be convincing not just to government and health researchers but also to people in advertising who actually make the decisions. Often people make the argument that thinness sells, and thats why they use (slim models),” says Diedrichs.
Unilever brand Dove has also made a big deal of its campaign using ‘real women’ and highlighting how much imagery in advertising is manipulated.
The company has subsequently been criticised for using more traditional ‘thin women’ imagery to promote other brands, such as Lynx/Axe deodorant.
Fashion editors maintain that they must use thin models because clothing companies supply samples in small sizes – the same reason why you only see Chihuahuas in dog fashion parade.