H&M Wins Heart and Minds with New Plus-sized Swimwear Model

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GutCheck fields on-demand research community to explore women’s attitudes toward H&M’s recent move to feature more realistic model in advertising; infographic

GutCheck Infographic on New H&M Ads

H&M is hitting it out of the park with this ad campaign

Retail brands have been top cultural news of late with one major brand in hot water over its declaration to only market to cool, good-looking people. But according to GutCheck, a leader in on-demand agile research, H&M is taking an entirely different approach to its marketing by featuring a plus-sized model for its new swimsuit campaign. And the research findings with accompanying infographic indicate that they are on to something.

H&M, concerned that its models were too thin, hired Jennie Runk, a 5’10’’ size 12/14 model as the star of this summer’s swimsuit ad campaign. “What a positioning contrast we’ve recently witnessed between Abercrombie & Fitch and H&M,” said Matt Warta, CEO of GutCheck.

GutCheck fielded an Instant Research Community (IRC) to better understand the practical customer insights underneath this counter-cultural retail move. Specifically, GutCheck wanted to answer these questions:

  • Do women actually prefer the ad with the size 12 model to one with a size 0 model?
  • And if so, to what degree and why?

The research validated that 76 percent of the panel preferred the ad with the size 12 model while 14 percent preferred the size 0 model. According to the panel, the reasons were both emotional (“A beautiful ad that I feel would relate to a lot of women.”) and rational (“It’s hard to picture myself in some of the clothing since I am not as small as the model.”).

“Within an hour of kicking off our research this past Wednesday morning, we had a research panel of 40 female recruits,” said Warta. “Twenty-four hours later, our panel had completed the guided discussion, collaborated heartily with one another, and gave us some fantastic insights. First and foremost, H&M is hitting it out of the park with this ad campaign.”

For the infographic on the research findings: http://gutcheckit.com/education-page/did-hm-win-women-over-with-new-larger-model-swimwear-ad/

About GutCheck
GutCheck delivers a unique agile research solution that gives marketers, researchers, and agencies rich, consumer insights without spending weeks waiting for answers. The company won the top prize at DEMO in March 2011, and today customers work with GutCheck to refine product concepts, optimize marketing messaging and decipher social media sentiment to help them make brand business decisions faster and smarter. For more information: http://gutcheckit.com.

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Laura Taylor
Taylor Strategic Communications
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