Two cents blog

Weighing In On The Body Image Debate

by Alex Hind on 24 October 2016

Weight Watchers Australia marketing people must be choking on their low fat banana and ricotta smoothies following the grueling workout they were given by irate women around the country last week.

The outrage is a result of a Weight Watchers publicity stunt where female journalists were sent light bulbs. The attached press release stated, “If you’ve ever felt self-conscious in the sack you’re not alone – we’ve heard that more than half of women have avoided sex because they were worried about how they look. This globe is a “mood light” designed to give you a little boost in the bedroom. (A PG sex toy, if you will).”

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The Twittersphere really got its activewear pants in a twist…

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The campaign included a “Body Confidence Report”, commissioned by Weight Watchers which stated that 52% of Australian women prefer to have sex with the lights off and a quarter avoid sex altogether because of poor body image.

As a result of the controversy, Weight Watchers has scrapped any further spend on the campaign.

When Triumph approached BCM to launch a campaign for its new shapewear, we commissioned a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative survey of women’s perceptions of their bodies called The Shape Report. The report showed the majority of women are unhappy with their own bodies. With that in mind, we then set about positively reclassifying women’s body shapes, acknowledging their individuality, with a nod to the artistic masters.

The campaign celebrated women’s body forms without negative labels such as “apple-shaped”, rather comparisons to works of art by painters such as Da Vinci, Rubens and Raphael. The accompanying website gave tips on dressing for body shape and product information on the new range. An Australasian-based competition was launched to find brand ambassadors for Triumph’s new body shape.

The body positive approach was incredibly successful in connecting to women, positioned Triumph as an advocate for positive body image, increased sales and resulted in a swag of esteemed industry awards.

As marketers, we must learn that shame, stigmatisation and negative connotations are not effective ways of boosting self-confidence. Let’s focus on embracing all body types, celebrating the female form and making Australian women feel proud.

Alex Hind is a Content Writer and Video Producer at BCM

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