One of the most recent companies to experience this particular marketing faux-pas is non other than popular international razor brand, Gillette.
You see, recently, Gillette Venus (the 'female' branch of the company) shared a photograph of the plus-sized model, Anna O'Brien, in an attempt to celebrate diversity. All seems pretty harmless, right? Yeah well, I guess that's what they thought too. However, their attempt soon took a turn for the worst after a sizeable amount of critics began to claim that the company is doing damage by normalizing an unhealthy lifestyle.
Similar to what other companies with super skinny models are doing, just on the other end of the spectrum.
Anna has her own online blog, which is called Glitter + Lazers, (TOTALLY loving that name by the by). “I run my online personality with heart, which means my opinions cannot be bought,” she writes on her blog. “If I review something positively- it’s because I actually like it. I might be provided goods or in some case ever paid to try out and experiment with a product, but every collaboration comes with the caveat- I will write what I believe. I blame this on the bad case of ethics and morals I was born with.”
Ohhh sassy... I love it!
She has over 318k Instagram followers and very nearly 100k YouTube subscribers, but her fame doesn't stop there!
“I’m also an accomplished global speaker- having presented in over 10 countries,” she says. “I’ve graced the stage at events such as SXSW, Adweek, Social Media Week, emetrics, M2C and more. I’m known for creating a candid and captivating presentation style and my ability to transform difficult concepts into executable steps.”
Which you have to admit is quite the impressive portfolio!
I'm not sure if you know this, but Gillette Venus is one of the few companies who claim that it features models with absolutely no retouching and no restrictions.
“No one way to have beautiful skin or to show it off,” they write. “Venus stands with all women who right the rules.”
Unsurprisingly, there are some people out there in the big wide world that think this ad isn't such a good idea, in the grand scheme of things.
Below is a small example of some of the comments being received against Gillette's latest ad campaign.
This brave marketing move by Gillette has obviously reignited a very heated discussion about various body sizes and eating disorders.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association, around 20 million women and 10 million men will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives, and that's only in the United States. “Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses that affect all kinds of people, regardless of gender, ethnicity, size, age, or background. In fact, eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, surpassed only by opioid addiction.”
The rule is, if people are consuming fewer calories than their bodies actually need, their bodies will then break down their own tissue so it can use it for fuel... which when put down in words actually sounds terrifying.
“Muscles are some of the first organs broken down, and the most important muscle in the body is the heart. Pulse and blood pressure begin to drop as the heart has less fuel to pump blood and fewer cells to pump with. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.”
And then, on the exact opposite side of the scales, obesity because not only does it cause very obvious physical changes, it also leads to a number of very serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, too.
These conditions include type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, various types of cancer (such as breast cancer and bowel cancer... yikes), and strokes. Not to mention, it can also greatly affect one's own quality of life, leading to psychological problems, for example, depression and incredibly low self-esteem.
But on the other hand, as with all controversy, there is a fair share of people out there who absolutely love the campaign, and think that it's a brilliant idea.
I for one can definitely see the argument from both sides... but maybe some opinions are, er, more well-written than others.
Yikes... not exactly hard to see which team most people on the internet seem to be siding with, is it?
Well, we know their opinion, but what about you wonderful people? How do you feel about this ad campaign? Do you think that it's a good idea to have plus-sized models involved in more and more marketing schemes, or do you feel that it would be too dangerous by promoting an unhealthy lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below! And don't forget to share this with your friends and family so that they can join in on this important debate too! AAx