Body Positivity A Big Win For Simply Be

Body Positivity A Big Win For Simply Be


Clothes retailer Simply Be are on a mission to help every woman “feel iconic” by bringing them fashion that fits. They don’t just sell plus-size ranges, but it’s what they’re best known for, and their new TV ad is upfront and unapologetic about showing women the brand is on their side. The era of shapeless smocks and unflattering undies is over. With an upbeat club track as background, Simply Be bring us an inclusive parade of models celebrating their height, size, and shape and demanding better from fashion.

It’s an ad that’s directly and strongly aimed at a target market, so as well as testing it among the general population we took a look specifically at what women aged 25-45 felt with a Test Your Ad Pro custom sample. We’re not generally advocates of tight targeting in advertising – brands are built by going wide, not narrow – but fashion is an area where one-size-fits-all quite literally doesn’t work. So while it’s important not to alienate the wider audience, it’s also good to know if your ad is working among your most likely customers.

The general public doesn’t reject the ad – it scores a healthy 3-Stars, which puts it into the top quartile of the ads we test. But among 25-45 year old women, the ad catches fire, hitting a maximum 5.9-Star score. Whether or not they’re in the market for Simply Be’s sizes, all women viewers recognise the issues faced by plus-size women and know exactly what the ad is talking about. And the vibe of the commercial – confident, defiant and loving life – is exactly what they’re looking for too.

Executionally the ad relies heavily on rhythmic action, jump cuts, text on screen, and other markers of a spot which is designed to catch left-brain attention and may not be as memorable in the longer term. But for its intended audience, that doesn’t matter – it’s the women in the ad and their attitude which counts. In the age of body positivity, with plus-size women on Sports Illustrated and Lizzo topping the charts, Simply Be’s message is one almost every woman that age is pleased to hear.

If you’ve read our Feeling Seen report, about diversity and inclusion in advertising, this set of results will have a familiar look to it. In that report we talked a lot about ‘Diversity Dividends’, where an ad featuring an underrepresented group performs exceptionally well among that group. We didn’t look at body size and shape in that report but we did explore ads aimed at women, and we found a real desire for more ads which showed a diversity of looks and bodies among women. Women have had perfection pushed on them by the industry for decades – what many want to see now is normality in all its glorious variety.