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Guest Column

Changing Objectives of Advertising

Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Underneath the Pink Umbrella as a guest contributor on Womenlines panel. Underneath the Pink Umbrella is a student in Singapore and feels strongly about women issues. This month she is sharing the lessons about  the changing objectives of advertising in present times-

Underneath the Pink Umbrella: We see them everywhere we look, they have taken over our lives and unless you become a hermit, they are nearly impossible to avoid. Advertisements, or be it any form of promotion, why has every beauty brand suddenly more conscious of being inclusive? Read more to understand my perspective on it-

Each magazine has the Fashion and Beauty section, which despite proclaiming ourselves to be feminists, can’t help but devour each fashion crime and success. These pages are filled with idolized ideals embodied within our idols. They have everything; we aspire to be like them. Yet, how is it that we never seem to reach that standard of beauty?

The standards of beauty are even more fickle than my opinion when I go shopping. And if you talk to my best friend, you would tell you that she has stomped out of a store because of my indecisive nature. There seem to be “Game Changers” each month. And in some magazines, even every week!

Recently, a powerful conversation that has been initiated by the youth is: what is beautiful?

Does the standard of beauty depend on something that is dictated, prescribed, or what the next trend is? Historically, the standard of beauty has evidently shifted every decade. With a new look, and style of clothing that is characteristic of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, is having a resurgence. With the industry being one of the fastest paced ones, it is both the creator and follower of trends.

With the trends themselves being so difficult to predict, they are influenced by many factors such as social, political, economic, and consumer tastes and preferences. Looking at simply one of them: social, we can see how advertising in fashion is affected by it.

Nowadays there is an increasing acceptance of different body types and hence many body positive adverts are being created. Previously, calling people fat would not be looked down upon, as it made it seem that the ‘fat’ person would be more concerned about their health. This change I believe was only possible when body activists such as Ashley Graham vocalized their thoughts that other people started questioning the stringent standards of beauty.

With social media abuzz with body advocates and body shamers, the beauty industry could identify the change and see new marketing opportunities. At the end of the day, why would businesses waste money on unprofitable ventures, such as employing “average” looking models to sell their product, when it might not be consistent with their brand image and have a poor response. The business caters to society’s needs, and when society’s needs change, what reason would they have to oppose it? (Besides increasing costs etc.)

Brands such as Forever 21 have a Forever21 Plus brand as well. Yes, they do use plus-size models, and with inclusivity at such a high, could it be more than the “in thing”, or is the beauty industry actually undergoing a paradigm shift? The number of ‘likes’ on a photo could just be easy enough to track consumer reception of the use of plus-size models. The thin models get more likes, as simple as that. It is more appealing to the eye, and that is why, it would indeed take a long time for the word beautiful, to be applicable to all types of people. The Western ideals of beauty have long been ingrained in our psyche, which makes it difficult to perhaps accept the change.

Why is it so sudden, that the advertising campaigns of businesses are more body conscious, and not using traditional Caucasian models? It is because we as an audience are now more perceptive to the changes.

Conclusion: It is economical. Consumers are given what they want by the businesses, and businesses are looking to find new things that people want. Right now, people want businesses to be more ethical, inclusive, compassionate and accepting. This is leading us to a better world because finally, it is profitable to be human.

Underneath the Pink Umbrella:

Hey! I am currently a freshman studying business; quite boring you might think, right? But I’m passionate about it! Besides that, I’m passionate about women’s rights, which is a topic that has been debated for centuries. A historian and artist, I try to research the story behind everything and imbue creativity in whatever I do. My contributions will show you my stance on women’s issues and offer a historical background and a fresher and more relatable perspective on the world and the women around you.



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