Aerie is extending its body-acceptance message to men.
The innerwear brand, which sits under the American Eagle umbrella, has introduced a new men’s underwear line and a video campaign featuring four men — or #AerieMen — who aren’t exactly plus-size, but certainly real.
There’s Matt, the least “real” of the bunch, who is a chiseled model that said he doesn’t mind not being retouched. Then there’s Kelvin, a style blogger with a selfie stick who hopes his unretouched photos inspire other men to accept their bodies. Devon, the long-haired pseudo hippie, emphasized the importance of being yourself. “It goes beyond the pattern on the trunks it’s about how you choose to put that pattern out there,” he said while thrusting the air. And lastly there’s Doug, a self-described health nut who recites the campaign’s tagline, “The Real You Is Sexy” while situated in the downward dog position and looking back at the camera. The overall campaign message is earnest, but its visuals and tone spoof the very same marketing tropes the brand has utilized in the past.
The underwear line, which is priced from $12.50 to $15.50, includes trunks, briefs and boxers in varying colors and prints with an American Eagle (not Aerie) logo at the waist.
Over the past few years body-acceptance has become central to American Eagle’s brand messaging. In 2014 the brand announced it would no longer retouch its models and last month it named British plus-size model Iskra Lawrence as an AeireReal Role Model. Others who have participated in unretouched campaigns for the Aerie brand include Emma Roberts, Gray Malin, Barbie Ferreira, Elia Almeida and Ally Walsh.
This self-acceptance marketing trend is starting to trickle into men’s. Last week IMG launched a plus-size men’s division, called Brawn, with model Zach Miko, and brands including Dove Men+Care and Axe have released campaigns that depict the many facets of masculinity that have little to do with machismo.
See video clips from the #Aerieman campaign below.