Star Models, a modeling agency in Brazil, has released a graphic new anti-anorexia ad campaign, using Photoshop to turn models into life-size fashion illustrations. The ads, which run with the tagline ‘say no to anorexia’, show a fashion illustration with typically exaggerated proportions next to a model wearing the same outfit – and the same measurements.
While the models have been airbrushed to mimic the unrealistic illustrations, the ad pleads to young women: ‘You are not a sketch.’ The campaign has been seen as ‘powerful’ with critics hopeful that it will set an effective message against thinspiration and pro-anorexia websites. Liz Osborne-Leavall, who works in customer service at Epicuren, said: “It sends a powerful message… it’s a literal visualization of what the fashion industry sets the standards at. While commenter Adam Green said: “I like these ads because they address the issue that anorexia seems to stem from the inability for people to distinguish reality from fiction. Barbie dolls don’t have realistic proportions, but we should be teaching girls that they don’t have to look like a Barbie doll instead of banning Barbies. It’s nitpicking a toy company versus actually making an effort to teach girls how to think healthy.”
However some commenters believe that the ads may actually promote thinspiration – advocacy of the disease through social media and ‘pro-ana’ websites. One commenter wrote: “Unfortunately I think some women could look to these images for thinspiration.” Another stated: “It is a good campaign for young girls who have not yet succumbed to the thin culture of our country, to perhaps nip the tendency in the bud. But for those who are truly anorexic, these models are their GOAL.”
This is not the first campaign to use such shocking images to convey its message though. In 2007, an ad for Italian fashion brand Nolita starred model Isabelle Caro, who was openly suffering from anorexia at the time. Her skeletal image, with vertebrae and facial bones protruding, shocked viewers and drew worldwide attention. She passed away three years later at age 28.
One commenter believes that the ad is a step in the right direction yet added: “It would be better if modeling agencies practiced what they preached.”