The return of ‘real women’. Again.

LK Bennett is the latest brand to disregard professional models in favour of real women (Marketing 28 July 2010). There is a clear trend developing that started with Dove before brands like Nike, Pretty Polly tights and Ultimo lingerie all got in on the act.

With all the talk of Mad Men and the fuller figured Christina Hendricks (heralded as a role model for women due to her Marilyn Monroe style gait), does this mean we might be seeing a return to the wholesome girl next-door product marketing that dominated the 1960’s?

I’d like to say yes, but ‘real women’ as a marketing concept works almost as well as re-issuing older, fondly remembered brands during a time of recession. Oh and almost as well as sex (a first time mention in 120 Assassin blog posts!)

Real women are accessible, realistic, natural, comforting, unthreatening – that’s why the Dove campaign connected and endured for years. It was in marked contrast to the campaigns staring fashion models, supermodels, celebrities and WAGs usually position clothes, shoes, toiletries and other luxury goods to the fairer sex.

What disappoints is that the real women featuring in the LK advertising campaign, marking its 20th anniversary, include Anna, a 24-year-old geophysicist, and Gaby a 39-year-old writer and agent, who whilst not being professionals, are clearly on the right side of photogenic.

I have nothing against them but it doesn’t look or sound particularly real to me, in the way the concept was originally coined. I dare say LK will still succeed in shifting a few pairs of shoes as a result of the coverage though!


2 responses to “The return of ‘real women’. Again.

  1. Hi Rene,

    It was also novelty value that was part of the success for Dove I think – so that will be lessend for other brands jumping on the bandwagon, for Dove using ‘real women’ was a unique differentiator but this loses value rapidly if others start to follow.

    That for me was also the genius of the Cillit Bang / Barry Scott adverts when they first came out: How do you stand out in a world of high production values? By adopting low production values – brilliant, but could get old pretty fast if everyone started doing it.

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