Far from the usual cries of praise for clothing retailer and body positive brand Aerie are the new calls to boycott the store after an April Fool’s “parody” turned sour.
On April 1 the brand launched a new campaign called #AerieMAN, which featured four diverse men with the tagline “the real you is sexy”.
People were thrilled that brands were finally making waves in calling for male body appreciation and respect, until it was unveiled that the campaign was just a “parody” of Aerie’s own #AerieReal campaign.
American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie’s parent company, issued a press release on Friday announcing that the hoax was launched to raise awareness about body diversity.
Why it had to be a ‘hoax’ has confused a few people, but mostly consumers are just angry.
I wish I stilled shopped at American Eagle Outfitters–so that I could boycott them. Everyone thought this was… https://t.co/clo90lZy8M
— Niala Terrell-Mason (@scififreak35) April 3, 2016
— Mortemer (@Mort3mer) April 4, 2016
@AEO the only joke here is shopping at your stores
— Ianterstellar Darko (@movienerd15) April 1, 2016
The company made a $25,000 donation to the National Eating Disorder Association, but it’s not helping to appease the outrage this stunt has caused.
— Fat Jedi Leia (@Artists_Ali) April 4, 2016
But despite all the brouhaha, the campaign was actually half decent, and one of the models Kelvin Davis says his participation in the campaign was completely legit.
“I want to set the record straight. I was 100 per cent real in that campaign. There is nothing fake about the men in that video!” Davis told Nylon.
“How they marketed it had nothing to do with us!”
Aerie is renowned for its celebration of the female body, and namely for using plus-sized model Barbie Ferreira in its #AerieReal campaigns.