In the retail industry, promotional images are taken frequently for catalogs, online stores, and digital marketing. Before each new line of clothing comes out, photo shoots are held featuring models wearing the garments. Having the ideal body type model clothes has been the industry standard since promotional marketing first began. It is thought that the clothes seem more attractive if they are seen on beautiful people with bodies that made everything look flattering. While this is still the standard practice in the fashion industry, many companies are also including new types of models in their campaigns. These may include women who are shorter or have more curves, celebrities, social influencers, and professional athletes.
While athletic companies have sponsored professional athletes for quite some time, they have started to take these partnerships to a more personal level recently. The rise of social media in the past few years has allowed for many more opportunities for brand ambassadors and influencers. This allows individuals who excel at a certain trade to share it with others who are like-minded. Once these talented individuals create a following for themselves, they have a platform that companies may want to utilize to promote their brand.
Athletes typically gain a following throughout their careers, which easily transfers into social media followers, providing them with an instant platform. Now more so than ever, companies are looking to create a more personal connection with their customers, which is exactly what social media allows. While they may post great images on their own channels, they will reach many more and are more likely to gain a reaction from their product if it is posted by one of their sponsored athletes. While customers may love the company itself and respond well to their advertisements, they are more likely to have a personal response to their favorite pro wearing the newest products and posting about how much they love them on their own account. The role model figure of the athlete creates a stronger draw to the company and their products simply for the desire to be like them.
For these reasons, companies, like Billabong, have incorporated their sponsored surfers into their social media ads even more lately. While they still use images of typical models in their print ads, their social media accounts feature more and more images of their sponsored athletes surfing and doing other daily activities in their apparel. These athletes also post similar images of themselves in their branded gear on their personal accounts.
While featuring these surfers offers a more personal and candid feel to their campaigns, they also are more inspirational than typical prints of models. As there are growing concerns of young girls taking desperate measures to make themselves appear more beautiful like the models they have been told are perfect, counter measures and new role models are a necessity. While some companies choose to promote all different sizes and shapes of models in their ads, athletic companies can offer something a little different as a solution. Billabong’s sponsored surf team features strong, women who are naturally beautiful in their own ways. Instead of promoting unhealthy habits and crazy cosmetic habits, these surfers are a positive influence to young girls to be themselves, maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, and work hard to get better at what they love to do.