Bopo is changing the way brands think

How is this strong social trend making brands rethink their positioning and communication?

A few years ago a number of outspoken individuals rose up against fat shaming, screaming their own ’fat positive’ message across social media; positioning themselves as an alternative and militant voice in association with the broader ’body positive’ message trend. Today BOPO has become a powerful social trend on the way the female body is perceived thanks to the actions of individual and plus-size model Instagram accounts in combination with (humorous and) positive hashtags.
Whilst some famous brands have made it a core message for years (Dove, Lane Bryant) it is mostly the younger brands (Neon Moon, Rebdolls) that are building their images through BOPO, whereas larger brands (ASOS, Target …) are only just starting to consider the female body for what it is.
Whilst voices are swiftly rising up to denounce the marketing hypocrisy of those brands that do endorse BOPO, the visible shift in attitude of some of these major brands proves that these social changes are having a genuine impact; the message (even ad-washed) is being broadcast and industry and social attitudes are changing.


Aerie

Photoshop-free since 2014

This lingerie brand has been using real models without retouching; a positive message that has seen a 9% increase in sales from the first year (according to ’bust’ website). They are behind the Aerie Real project, showing both models and consumers.



Dove

The pioneer

Since 2004 and the Beauty for All campaign, Dove has been promoting the image of real women to consumers of all origins, age and size. Advertising campaigns such as ’Real Beauty Sketches’ in 2013 and their recent 



Macnifitient Me

Real people, real make-up

In the fall of 2015, Mac released its campaign presenting the 6 winners of its annual contest: plus-size, trans, older



Urban Outfitters

A marketing move?

In early 2017, the brand launched ’The Class of 2017’ a collection inspired by influencers. It featured Barbie Ferreira, a plus-size model. However the brand does not sell propose any sizes above XL. And the buzz on internet is not so positive.


To think further

  • How can BOPO be integrated into your brand values with credibility and honesty?
  • Which BOPO action for your brand? Photoshop-free campaigns? Model diversity? Real consumer advertising?
  • How to go beyond BOPO and create a partner brand, supporting consumers in their achievements and actions on the whole not just regarding beauty issues?