In a growing era of female empowerment and positive body rhetoric, Aerie has revolutionized the lingerie game. In 2014, the lingerie offshoot of American Eagle launched its #aerieREAL campaign, retiring the airbrush for good. Aerie has promised to stop photoshopping its models to demonstrate the company’s commitment to empower its female customers to love their bodies as they are. The company credits its new honest campaign with a 20% increase in sales in 2015.

In efforts to keep the #aerieREAL campaign strong, Aerie has just brought on Iskra Lawrence as a spokesperson and model. Model Barbie Ferreira has already been onboard with Aerie, but Lawrence will be the first plus-size model of the campaign. Lawrence, also an ambassador for NEDA, the National Eating Disorder Association, is traversing America’s college campuses to promote body positivity. This is the first time a big brand has partnered with NEDA, and Aerie even created a new promotion in which 100% of sales from a unique body-positive t-shirt will be donated to NEDA. Aerie is also promoting donations to NEDA by gifting customers a free bracelet, and is promoting this movement in-store and through their various online platforms.

In a 2008 study in Villanova University and The College of New Jersey, researchers found that ads with glorified models hurt participants’ perception of their sexual attractiveness, weight and physical condition. Despite this, participants were still more likely to buy apparel worn in these ads than in ads with average-sized models. Study after study has highlighted the negative impact of airbrushed ads despite financial gain; however, Aerie’s new campaign has finally proven that body-positive campaigns can co-exist with increased profits. This is a concept MSD firmly believes in, and goes to show that social good and business can go hand-in-hand. We are excited to see how Aerie will stay relevant and continue to push for body-positive marketing!

Check out Iskra Lawrence’s first video for the #aerieREAL campaign!

Stephanie Yang, MSD Intern