User generated content is content produced not by the brand itself but by the
user and/or the consumer of a product or service. This content is posted onto a
public medium in which the brand may obtain permission to reshare if they so
choose.

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Repurposing user generated content benefits the company in more ways than one.
First, by reposting content produced by the real life customers, it improves
their connection to the brand itself. It makes the people buying the product
feel like the brand is actually interested in them and it enhances perceived
inclusivity. The brand shows that they want everyone in their products, and not
just certain kinds of people.

In January 2014, Aerie- a brand
selling women’s undergarments, swimsuits, and lounge/activewear launched a new
campaign that would change their company forever. That campaign is known as the

AerieReal campaign and it prompted customers to share their real, unedited

photos and/or their personal story to their social media channels. A
representative of Aerie’s social media platform would then reach out to the user
and ask for permission to repost/share the original post.

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The campaign focuses on spreading body positivity. Aerie puts emphasis on loving
yourself as you are and knowing that you’re more than a number on a scale, or
the sum of your imperfections. These photos would go on to be reshared on
Aerie’s official social channels as well as on the page of the product being
advertised online. This gives women shopping online the chance to see what the
product looks like on someone that might look just like them.

Having normal, everyday women in their products shows other customers what the
product might actually look like on them.The fashion industry today is filled
with super models who look like they all could have came from the same factory.
Most are very tall, and many are dangerously thin. The unrealistic expectations
projected onto the youth is only made worse off the runway. When the photos are
released, even the models don’t look like themselves anymore. The photos are
frequently retouched and heavily edited to make the model look their “best.”
Unfortunately, the consumer has a very difficult time connecting to this model
and can be insecure because they know that the clothing will never look the same
on them.

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Unintentionally, Aerie demonstrates the usefulness of micro-influencers. They
harness the pure power of authenticity by showcasing women that customers can
actually relate to. These other women are not overly polished or overly edited,
because they are perfect just the way they are. Customers like to see people
that they can relate to, and when they can recognize that those women are
beautiful, they will feel more confident themselves, and in turn they will buy
more products! This is why we believe that this campaign was and is to this day
so successful. The relatability of these women is something that can only be
obtained by micro-influencers/ real consumers and not macro-influencers/
supermodels.

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Aerie’s campaign was so successful because they got* real. *