More Junk in the Trunk, please.

On its blog, Nike announced the release of its new “real women” ad campaign. The new ads are a reworking of a 2005 campaign celebrating a woman’s natural curves. The clever text of the ad invites anyone unhappy with a woman’s extra “junk in the trunk” to kiss it. The sassy nature of the ad was definitely enough to catch my attention.

Nike however, is not the only company utilizing the “real women” angle in its ads. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” made a huge splash in the media by recruiting real women off the street to pose for pictures in their underwear. The women in the campaign ranged from sizes 6-14, a big difference from the typical model sizes of 2 or even 00. Dove’s marketing director for the campaign, Philippe Harousseau, stated, “It is our belief that beauty comes in different shapes, sizes and ages. Our mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by broadening the definition of beauty.” (source)

It should come as no surprise that companies are choosing to “go with” a healthy body image approach ever since the controversial Isobelle Caro advertisement. The ad served as an attack on the fashion industry that pressured models like Caro (who has dropped as low as 55 pounds, CBS News reports) to resort to extreme weight loss.

WebMD reports that Anorexia Nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness, with 5% to 20% of reported cases resulting in death. However, despite all of these statistics, our culture still has an obvious obsession with being skinny – as seen with websites like “The Skinny Website” and endless articles on how much weight celebrities seem to gain or lose. So really…just how effective are these ad campaigns?

Seth Stevenson, a writer for Slate (a daily online web magazine), gives the Dove campaign an A for short term effectiveness stating that it grabs the audience’s attention and gets people talking. There is something endearing about the underdog getting their day in the spotlight (the underdog in this sense being the average woman). However, Stevenson gives the campaign a D for long term effectiveness. As much as we want to get behind the “average woman,” he claims that subconsciously Dove’s product will eventually be viewed as for “fat chicks.” (source)

Personally, I feel that his critique is a bit harsh. I think that the women in this campaign look amazing and it is not just because of their bodies. The self confidence and happiness that these women exude is enough to make any woman look incredible, regardless of their size, and that is what I think most people will remember from the ad.

Ads that promote a healthy body image, like those created by Nike and Dove, represent huge steps in creating a more positive outlook for women and create a standard for other companies to live up to. Perhaps if we continue in this direction, a woman can open up a magazine, view the advertisements and love herself rather than hate herself.

Written by: Caitlin McDonough

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  • Lisa Nickerson  On August 4, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Let’s seriously take a look at these pictures for a minute. Does anyone really think that ANY of these women are FAT??!! I would kill for legs like the model in the Nike ad!


  • By Mental Disorders 101 on August 5, 2010 at 3:26 am

    More Junk in the Trunk, please. « The Official Blog of NickersonPME…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  • […] damn funny, but it makes our boyfriends feel inadequate at the same time. In my previous article, More Junk in the Trunk, please, I discuss how ads make women feel insufficient. So finally, there is one that does the […]

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