How Aerie Ads Demonstrate Successful Authenticity

By: Lauren Gordon


Photo Courtesy of Aerie Facebook

Here’s an important lesson in social media. Aim for transparency and authenticity. Since 2014, American Eagle’s Aerie only features unairbrushed models in their social media advertisements. The lingerie brand has proved foregoing photoshop altogether has led to likeability. Has this tactic been successful? Extremely.

Aerie’s success isn’t random. “The real changing factor here is social media has changed the visual dialogue,” said Pam Grossman, Getty Images’ director of visual trends in an interview with BuzzFeed. “We see statistics that it really is more females than males who are using image-sharing sites… so that means for the first time in history, we have primarily females who are leading a mass conversation. … That to me is really why there’s such a hunger now for authenticity and for representing the female experience in a more genuine way.”

The advertisements include women of various races, shapes and sizes. Cellulite, stretch marks and skin folds included. This direction matches millenials views of diversity, inclusiveness and being true to oneself. A simple search of the hashtag #AerieReal is full of tweets of approval. Mom’s approve of the branding so their daughters are confident in their own skin. Young adults favor the originality and picture themselves in the ads. Overall, it’s a message everyone can agree with.aerie2

Photo Courtesy of Aerie Instagram

The content of Aerie Real advertisements is a stark contrast to the thin supermodels that sport Pink, Victoria Secret clothing. Also the opposite of the rock hard abs pictured in Abercrombie and Fitch ads. Aerie was the first brand of its kind to forgo photoshop and editing on such a large scale. But the bold statement has been positive.

Aerie’s body positivity posts have proved profitable. According to Huffington Post, Aerie’s sales rose 32 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. And the brand shows no signs of slowing down. Aerie promotes a message on social media that users resonate with. Therefore, they have gained trust through customers from their authenticity in their idea. This should prove as an example to other brands that sometimes less is more.


Photo Courtesy of Aerie Pinterest


Maheshwari, Sapna. “Aerie’s Body Positive Message Sent Sales Skyrocketing.” BuzzFeed. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

Mosbergen, Dominique. “Aerie Ditched Photoshopped Ads 2 Years Ago. Here’s What Happened Next..” The Huffington Post., 19 May 2016. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism