Aerie looks to role model ambassadors to drive change

Discussion
American Eagle Outfitters
Feb 04, 2020
Tom Ryan

Aerie, the lingerie brand owned by American Eagle, recently added eight new role model ambassadors — including actors, scientists and activists — to its current roster in support of its 2020 #AerieREAL campaign designed to help influence change in the world.

The 2014 launch of the “Aerie Real” campaign, featuring the use of regular-looking models without airbrushing, has become a core driver of the brand’s appeal. Many of the chain’s 13 ambassadors embrace body positivity and inclusivity as well as other empowerment messages.

The role models include:

  1. Molly Burke, a YouTube star who lost her sight as a teenager;
  2. Manuela Barón, a zero-waste blogger and fashion enthusiast;
  3. Keiana Cavé, a scientist who has developed patents for carcinogen detecting technology;
  4. Lana Condor, the Vietnamese–American actress;
  5. Beanie Feldstein, a plus-sized actress;
  6. Brenna Huckaby, a paralympic snowboarder champion who lost her leg to cancer as a teenager;
  7. Jenna Kutcher, the founder of the Goal Digger podcast supporting female entrepreneurism;
  8. Iskra Lawrence, a plus-size lingerie model;
  9. Tiff McFierce, a wellness advocate and DJ;
  10. Hari Nef, the first transgender model to sign with IMG Worldwide;
  11. Aly Raisman, the Olympic gymnast who has become known for her efforts to raise awareness about child sexual abuse;
  12. Ali Stoker, the first wheelchair user to win a Tony;
  13. Dre Thomas, founder of Smile On Me, an organization providing inner-city girls with a safe space to receive sex and health education.

“We have open conversations with our customers around who and what inspires them,” said Jennifer Foyle, Aerie’s global brand president, according to Forbes. “The Aerie community is diverse, so it’s important to be representative of the different backgrounds and beliefs of our customers to ensure they feel their voices heard in everything we do.”

This year, Aerie will also run a social media contest to give away $400,000 in grants to 20 women making positive changes in local communities.

Aerie’s role models contrast to Victoria’s Secret’s “Angels,” featuring slender supermodels often seen in hyper-sexualized poses. Nike, The North Face and other active brands have athletes as ambassadors who are often vocal on causes. Brand ambassadors for fashion retailers are less common.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does Aerie’s role model ambassadors program amplify or confuse its “Aerie Real” campaign message? Have the factors that make a brand ambassador aspirational for fashion and sports brands changed?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It makes sense to have a broad, diverse group of ambassadors with the hope that consumers see ambassadors that are like them – everyday people or people they aspire to be."
"I love this campaign. Since I hardly know any of the names of the ambassadors, it goes to show that the campaign can win with just everyday people relaxing in their PJs."
"Showcasing inspirational people with the brand is a good combination that I think will serve Aerie well if they keep it focused on keeping it real."

Join the Discussion!

7 Comments on "Aerie looks to role model ambassadors to drive change"


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Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

It makes sense to have a broad, diverse group of ambassadors with the hope that consumers see ambassadors that are like them – everyday people or people they aspire to be. It all depends on how AE crafts the message to their targeted customer group. You don’t want to see a potential not fully realized with a weak message about product they want to consumers to buy.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

I am a bit confused by the question. Is it suggesting that you can’t be fashionable without super models and air brushing? Is it suggesting that without the showing your products on bodies that people will never have, those products will not be aspirational?

These model ambassadors are something that shouts aspirational. They are everywoman. Not figments of the imagination.

And yes, you don’t have to look like a supermodel or any model at all to be fashionable and sexy.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Aerie set the standard for how a mall brand can behave in an inclusive and genuine manner. They shunned the snobbish, overtly exclusionary behavior of ANF and the results speak for themselves. Hats off to Aerie for proving that “genuine” is something that people crave, relate to, and aspire to.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

I love this campaign. Since I hardly know any of the names of the ambassadors, it goes to show that the campaign can win with just everyday people relaxing in their PJs. My 2 cents says this will resonate well with our Millennial and younger consumers.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Aerie is one of my daughter’s favorite stores so I have spent a lot of time shopping there. It’s a fun and positive space.

There is so much that I like about Aerie’s commitment to promote body positivity and inclusivity. Recently at our local store the area around the mirrors in the fitting rooms were covered in Post-it notes written by shoppers that said things like, “You look great!”, “That’s so cute on you!” I also like that the #AerieREAL campaign includes a book club with books chosen by the #AerieREAL Role Models. And that social media contest to give away $400,000 in grants? It has no age limit. That’s inclusivity.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

The ambassadors Aerie has selected are real and should strengthen its brand message. They are representative of a wide cross section of its customer base. With proper messaging, they should be seen as aspirational.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

The idea of having regular-looking models without airbrushing isn’t counter to role model ambassadors that have an inspirational story. People can be both and it adds some dimension to the campaign. Showcasing inspirational people with the brand is a good combination that I think will serve Aerie well if they keep it focused on keeping it real.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It makes sense to have a broad, diverse group of ambassadors with the hope that consumers see ambassadors that are like them – everyday people or people they aspire to be."
"I love this campaign. Since I hardly know any of the names of the ambassadors, it goes to show that the campaign can win with just everyday people relaxing in their PJs."
"Showcasing inspirational people with the brand is a good combination that I think will serve Aerie well if they keep it focused on keeping it real."

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