The Swedish fashion giant, H&M was recently attacked in the media for the release of their latest swimwear campaign revealing an incredibly and unnaturally tan model. A message to the public being: you need to be very tan look great in a bathing suit.
With Sweden experiencing more people dying of skin cancer every year than in traffic accidents, it is no surprise that the Swedish Cancer Society is outraged.
The model, Isabeli Fonatana, has a beautiful natural golden skin tone that would have easily complemented the bathing suit, so why did H&M take her color to such extremes? We may never know the actual reasoning behind this decision, but we do know it was the wrong decision.
While the ultimate goal of advertisers and advertising agencies is to sell product, it is still important to maintain integrity in the message conveyed. Advertisers and marketers need to understand that when we do marketing well, we do it very well. Our consumers listen to what we tell them overtly and subtly. Be sure you evaluate your whole advertising message, not just a part of it.
Swimwear campaigns already put enough pressure on the average woman to “look like a supermodel” which contributes to excessive dieting and very often eating disorders. Now we can add obsessive tanning…where will the list of beauty requirements stop? H&M is now unintentionally promoting a deadly beauty ideal as the new fashion accessory and increasing the disorder of tanorexia in young women.
H&M released an apology stating it was not their intention to promote excessive tanning.
What do you think about the H&M ad? Do you believe advertisers and advertising agencies need to be more aware of all the messages they send – including the subtle ones of body images and beauty? Tell us what you think here, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.