Read about how clothing company, Aerie, has teamed up with the National Eating Disorders Association and the effect Instagram has had on both of their campaigns.
By: Ariana Ameli
The National Eating Disorders Association has just launched the 30th National Eating Disorder Awareness (NEDA) Week , broadening the spotlight on supporting those suffering from eating disorders. Programs such as treatment groups, support networks, Body Projects, hotlines, and walks are offered to create resources for those that believe there is no hope for recovery. The mission is to minimize the staggering number of Americans who have an eating disorder.
The interesting aspect of NEDA awareness is the evolution of its activism, and ability to get the word out. With an increase in social platforms and media outlets, NEDA has undoubtedly been able to bring even greater attention to their cause. Instagram has proven its own significance of bringing light to their organization, as users tag #NEDA when sharing their story. With this alone, the cause provides a more holistic and relatable outreach, as anyone of the millions of individuals with an Instagram can search these posts and find real life examples of eating disorder struggle and recovery.
Additionally, Aerie has also reaped the benefits of social media by conducting its no-Photoshop movement, starting in 2014. Using #aeriereal, many individuals have supported the campaign sharing their own pictures in an effort to normalize bodies that are real to them. Most customers see this tactic as a way to combat the fashion industry’s stubborn ways in terms of advertising and editing. Aside from what the original intention may have been, the Aerie company also saw a surge in revenue, as of 2015 their sales jumped 20%. The following year, sales rose 32% in the first quarter.
What do these two cases have in common? Indirectly, both Aerie and NEDA have seen the power of social platforms like Instagram, and what it can do to benefit body positive missions. But even more significantly, in an effort to support National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Aerie has teamed up with the NEDA and has launched the “Strong, Beautiful, Me” campaign in which 100% of sales of a limited-edition t-shirt will be donated. For separate reasons, both companies prosper. Aerie continues to display a socially-responsible attitude, and NEDA gained greater coverage. Not only does this target an age group that is highly vulnerable to eating disorders, but it also increases coverage of the movement and adds additional funding.