Mothercare’s Body Proud Mums looks good, but is it too similar to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign?

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The Background

There is a lot of pressure to have a perfect body. 

When I was younger, it was mainly women who felt this, with media presenting men in all shapes and sizes as being acceptable, but for a woman to be worthwhile, she had to be young, attractive and above all, slim. 

Times have changed, and now men are also under pressure, in fact in some ways it is worse for them, as it is easier to be skinny than gain a six pack. 

The parade of ‘perfect’ bodies that you see in reality shows such as Love Island and Made in Chelsea, are bound to make most of us feel a little inadequate, no matter how resilient our self-esteem.

The Big Idea

So campaigns such as the latest from Mothercare, which shows ‘real’ mum bodies should make us feel much better, right? 

According to a survey of 7,000 mums published at www.babycenter.com, nearly two-thirds of mums set themselves unrealistic expectations about their bodies, expecting to be back to their pre-pregnancy weight within a year of their baby’s birth. Research commissioned by Mothercare claims that more than half of new mums say they are unable to feel proud of their bodies after giving birth.

Images of how mothers’ bodies really appear are therefore reassuring and show that Mothercare is a brand that champions mothers.

What They Did

The Body Proud Mums campaign features 10 mums in their underwear in a series of images on London Underground, where tummies may not be tiny, but smiles, on both baby and mum faces are luminous. The shots were taken by photographer Sophie Mayanne who is proud to never digitally manipulate her images. So these beautiful photographs can claim to be ‘real’. The ads are in more than 30 Tube stations, on LCD screens and escalator panels. The pictures also appear in a social media campaign.

Mothercare has ticked all the right boxes with this campaign, as well as tackling women’s insecurity about their post-baby bodies (51% of mothers manipulate their images on social media to ‘improve’ their looks), it also tackles the fact that there is a lack of racial diversity in mainstream ads (61% of mums say that BAME are underrepresented in the media).

The Review

They say it is easy to criticise, and I have a particular talent for this, but it seems horribly bitchy to say anything bad about a campaign with such good intentions, such great pictures and such worthy aims. So before I cast any aspersions, first of all I want to say ‘well done Mothercare’.

Now here for my negative thoughts: This is not the most original campaign, it seems very similar to what Dove has been doing for over a decade with its campaign for Real Beauty.

So top marks for the execution, but to me, the strategy is not new or exciting enough to get full marks.

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Daney Parker

Daney Parker

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