Aerie "No Photoshop"

It’s been a big couple of weeks for the Photoshop debate. Jezebel offered a bounty for unretouched images of Lena Dunham’s Vogue photo shoot, in a move that came off as more of an insult to Dunham than a slap at Vogue (when the pictures materialized, they were really underwhelming from a “how dare they??!” standpoint).

But the issue of altered images of beauty is an issue worth getting upset about, especially when it comes to images that are being directed at younger girls. Which is why American Eagle sibling brand Aerie just about made the Internet melt by launching underwear ads featuring images of young women (all of them attractive, but some of them departing from the underwear model standard as we've known it) along with the claim, “The girl in this photo has not been retouched.”

Aerie "No Photoshop"

What’s maybe even more compelling than the ads: the Aerie site allows users to search by size and actually see someone wearing that size. In other words, an entire brand persona intended to convey "real" more than "someone's idea of a 15-year-old boy's absurd fantasy." Look, the ladies in these ads are still, by any standard, gorgeous (nobody is looking at that platonic ideal ass shot in the ad campaign and thinking, “Wow, how brave!”). But if we’re evaluating this as a piece of marketing, it’s a win.

Old Spice "Internetervention"

A welcome, nay, triumphant return for Isaiah Mustafa from Wieden + Kennedy and Stink Digital. The man who made Old Spice famous has some shirtlessly delivered, stern yet hilarious words for wayward men who find themselves at sites like Partytanz.com or Brodominiums.com (a site about condos inside of gyms, of course). Words like “Hello and sit down” and “Eat a bush that has a lion hiding in it.” Our sheer delight at this campaign speaks to the glorious nature of the original character, and the strength of execution on this new iteration.

Denham Jeans "Denham Psycho"

First, recall, or re-watch (or be introduced to!) the business card scene and the Huey Lewis scene in American Psycho. Then watch this pitch-perfect reimagining for Denham jeans. The short was created by agency Flickering Wall and directed by Hugo Keijzer, to promote the opening of a Denham pop-up in Berlin.

Beats By Dre: "Richard Sherman/Hear What You Want"

Shortly after the Seahawks won the NFC title, Richard Sherman engaged in an atomic trash-talking session that would go instantly viral and catch the attention of even those who had never heard of Richard Sherman before. Shortly after that, the world was made aware of a spot for Beats headphones featuring Sherman being bombarded with trash-talking questions from reporters. Coincidence?

Call Of Duty: Ghosts: "CODnapped"

Stephen Graham--Al Capone to you--is so damn watchable that he’d make any ad work. And this one, from Activision and 72andSunny, is a hoot (love the smirks on the kidnappees), even if it feels like COD should actually act on this big promise/premise.

Real Underwear Models, Psycho Hipsters: The Top 5 Ads of the Week

Aerie gets applause for ditching Photoshop, Denham jeans goes Psycho, Old Spice brings back Isaiah and more great moments from the week.

You know it’s a particularly fat week in brand creativity when a whole handful of plain, ordinary ads can outshine even the Super Bowl teasers--those ads for the ads that should be the best ads of the year--that flooded the market this week.

With all the noise around the big game, it was a ladies underwear campaign that won the week. Young women's lingerie brand Aerie was a highlight not for its ads, per se (some images of young ladies in their underwear) but for the apparent stance taken about how the brand was going to present itself to its audience. Aerie generated huge buzz by depicting some realistic-seeming (well, more realistic than this, unphotoshopped models in its ads and on its site. Yes, the bar is pretty low when we all cheer that an advertiser includes beautiful models, some with a slightly higher body fat percentage than the beautiful women we typically see in ads. Some critics of the campaign argue that all the models are still relatively thin; others argue that the idea is uninteresting; low hanging fruit. But it's a step, and another brand will follow with yet another step (read more about Aerie's approach here).

The campaign comes at a time when we're starting to see a number of brands, quietly or loudly, take a more inclusive approach to casting ads (see the Swiffer ad that starred an amputee Dad who was part of a multi-racial family).

And whether or not you declare the Aerie effort a victory for women, the brand did generate a ton of talk--almost as much talk as Richard Sherman's rant (which itself factored into one of our picks this week).

Another shirtless presence--this one chiseled to perfection; no pretensions about being "real" here--stood out this week. And that shirtless presence was Isaiah Mustafa, back with a vengeance in nine "interneteventions" for Old Spice.

See all in the gallery above.

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2 Comments

  • Sebastian Franklin

    Another site for some great underwear is BayouBeau.com Bayou Beau feels and looks great. I tossed out all my other underwear after getting my first pair. I fell in love!