Project Title

The Authenticity of Body Positivity in the Media: A Comparative Analysis of Four American-Owned Companies

Authors' Affiliations

Emma Mink, Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Kelly Atkins, Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Location

Culp Room 210

Start Date

4-6-2022 1:30 PM

End Date

4-6-2022 1:45 PM

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Management & Marketing

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Kelly Atkins

Additional Sponsors

Dana Harrison, Reza Maihami

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Competition Type

Non-Competitive

Type

Boland Symposium

Project's Category

Advertising and Marketing

Abstract or Artist's Statement

The Authenticity of Body Positivity in the Media: A Comparative Analysis of Four American-Owned Companies

Emma Mink and Dr. Kelly Atkins, Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Marketing strategies are changing how businesses sell their products. The body positivity movement is causing consumers to examine companies to determine if their intentions are authentic. Some of the ways consumers evaluate company authenticity include examining corporate social responsibility reports, types of advertising, or the brand-cause fit between the company and the body positivity movement. The authors of this study followed two companies (Dove and Aerie) that are known for body positive advertising messages and two companies (Mattel/Barbie and Victoria Secret) that are known for promoting unrealistic body expectations. The authors examined each companies’ mission statement, annual report, and types of media being used in order to determine whether the companies were doing what they say they are doing. The researchers found that Dove and Aerie demonstrated company values consistent with their body positivity campaigns; however, both had opportunities to increase their emphasis on inclusion and diversity in their advertising campaigns and media presence. Mattel and Victoria’s Secret had inclusive and diverse campaigns and media presence but focused on empowerment of women rather than body positivity. In the final analysis, Aerie had the most consistency between its brand and its body positivity campaigns. Further, the authors found that Aerie’s campaigns promoted true body positivity with models of various ethnicities, sizes, disabilities, and illnesses. Aerie has raised the bar for companies joining the body positivity movement by encouraging women to accept the “imperfect” bodies they were born with. This study has academic and industry contributions due to the comparative analyses of the body positivity marketing campaigns of American-owned brands. The results could inform companies of their strengths and areas of opportunity in consumer perceptions of brand authenticity and could provide direction for future studies focused on body positivity marketing.

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Apr 6th, 1:30 PM Apr 6th, 1:45 PM

The Authenticity of Body Positivity in the Media: A Comparative Analysis of Four American-Owned Companies

Culp Room 210

The Authenticity of Body Positivity in the Media: A Comparative Analysis of Four American-Owned Companies

Emma Mink and Dr. Kelly Atkins, Department of Marketing and Management, College of Business, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Marketing strategies are changing how businesses sell their products. The body positivity movement is causing consumers to examine companies to determine if their intentions are authentic. Some of the ways consumers evaluate company authenticity include examining corporate social responsibility reports, types of advertising, or the brand-cause fit between the company and the body positivity movement. The authors of this study followed two companies (Dove and Aerie) that are known for body positive advertising messages and two companies (Mattel/Barbie and Victoria Secret) that are known for promoting unrealistic body expectations. The authors examined each companies’ mission statement, annual report, and types of media being used in order to determine whether the companies were doing what they say they are doing. The researchers found that Dove and Aerie demonstrated company values consistent with their body positivity campaigns; however, both had opportunities to increase their emphasis on inclusion and diversity in their advertising campaigns and media presence. Mattel and Victoria’s Secret had inclusive and diverse campaigns and media presence but focused on empowerment of women rather than body positivity. In the final analysis, Aerie had the most consistency between its brand and its body positivity campaigns. Further, the authors found that Aerie’s campaigns promoted true body positivity with models of various ethnicities, sizes, disabilities, and illnesses. Aerie has raised the bar for companies joining the body positivity movement by encouraging women to accept the “imperfect” bodies they were born with. This study has academic and industry contributions due to the comparative analyses of the body positivity marketing campaigns of American-owned brands. The results could inform companies of their strengths and areas of opportunity in consumer perceptions of brand authenticity and could provide direction for future studies focused on body positivity marketing.