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Are “Real People” the Answer to Consumer’s Trust?
ASOS included an image of a 20-year-old student in a product listing after being mocked by a date. The result has sparked a conversation about using “real people” as models.
Establishing trust with consumers is more vital to brand survival than it has ever been. Social media allows customers to share their issues with a brand, and depending on the reaction, can sometimes lead to a boycott of the company entirely.
British student, Thea Lauryn Chippendale, went viral on Twitter in late April when she shared a series of messages from a Tinder match who had some strong feelings regarding a dress she wore. The 20-year-old’s dress in question was purchased from ASOS, which the Tinder match said is not doing her “any favours”. The tweet she shared has since amassed over 97,000 likes.
ASOS then took the initiative to feature the young girl in a new way. The dress on ASOS’ website has since been updated to feature Chippendale as a model, as shown on the second slide of the gallery.
As a result, the brand’s Twitter received an influx of positive responses, “Well done ASOS! More of this please!”, one user wrote. Another Twitter user wrote “This makes me happy I shop at ASOS!” to the brand.
In 2017, the UK marketplace received praise after they said they would no longer Photoshop their models. An influx of positive messages followed the practice, starting a conversation about using “real people” in their photoshoots.
ASOS isn’t the only brand who have embraced shirking airbrushing its models. Boohoo, Aerie, Missguided and Target have also begun leaving the model’s ‘imperfections’ in images, with similar responses coming from consumers.
The optimistic reaction to Thea Chippendale’s image being used by the marketplace has re-sparked the advocacy for using regular people in its product listings. Although it’s unclear whether the initiative offers any financial incentive to the brand, building trust between the company and consumer is worth its weight in gold.
Often fashion labels will re-share a customer’s image in a piece of the brand’s clothing on social media. However, in the future, is it possible that brands like ASOS or Boohoo will start using consumer’s images in products as a way to establish continuity, trust and loyalty from the customer? With ASOS’ initiative, it’s a possibility.