Aerie misfired, and people are furious.
American Eagle’s lingerie subsidiary has cultivated a reputation for being “body positive.”
The company, however, claimed that it does take body positivity very seriously, and simply the video was meant to be a goof — the reveal that it was a hoax was part of its grand plan to announce nixing Photoshopping men in American Eagle underwear and swimwear ads come holiday 2016.
But Twitter was furious with the mixed message, and some people were threatening to boycott the company (or wish they shopped there so they could boycott them).
Others simply criticised the confusing message.
The company donated $25,000 to the National Eating Disorder Association, but that might not abate consumers’ frustrations.
But even if Aerie’s message was confusing, one of the men featured in the campaign believes that what he was selling was real.
“I was not fooling anyone in this campaign. Everything I said and represent is 100% true. I am the main male body positive advocate!!” Model Kelvin Davis told Nylon. “I want to set the record straight. I was 100% real in that campaign. There is nothing fake about the men in that video! How they marketed it had nothing to do with us!”
Aerie’s sales have been ascending lately. For fiscal 2015, its same-store sales skyrocketed 20%. Much of the brand’s success has been linked to its much-lauded airbrush-free #AerieREAL campaign.