Two years ago German magazine, Brigitte, was seen as a media pioneer by dropping thin models in favour of average sized women. Now the mag is taking an embarrassing step back by reintroducing smaller models after sales took a nose dive.
During the two year trial over 1,000 women aged between 18 and 68 had been used in fashion and beauty features to try and make the publication look more natural and inclusive. They also drastically reduced their use of airbrushing to show wrinkles, cellulite and saggy tummies.
But instead of attracting readers the new format caused a 35% drop in circulation and a 22% decrease in subscriptions. The publishers are now desperate to get back on track and reintroduce sample sized models.
A statement from Brigitte said: “'From now on, the magazine will work with models whenever we believe that it fits better for a topic or cover image, for more diversity in Brigitte.'
In this month’s edition, slimmer girls from pro-model agencies have been used rather than the ‘real women’ who have dominated the pages since 2010.
So why did the experiment fail? According to feedback and market research, readers found the ‘real women’ distracting to look at in fashion-led features. Plus, some complained that using beautiful ‘normal’ women made them feel worse about themselves than skinny models (whose job it is to look attractive/striking in photo shoots and campaigns).
What do you think?