Swimsuit models with flawless bodies are apparently not picture perfect enough to help sell garments on H&M websites.
The global retailer from Sweden ignited some controversy this week when Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, reported the trendy fashion company was using virtual computer-generated human figures on its site to model lingerie and swimsuits.
The virtual figures had real models’ heads digitally attached in post-production which gave the image a very realistic human appearance. The giveaway clue that these models were not entirely flesh and blood was the robotic identical hand position on their hips.
A national advertising watchdog was quick to denounce the company for “creating unrealistic physical ideals,” and demanded the company “find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis.”
H&M defended this practice in a statement sent out to all their offices around the globe, including Toronto, stating that these virtual mannequin pictures are not the only images used on their e-commerce site but real life models and still life pictures are also used.
A section on the site called the Dressing Room allows customers to select a garment and have it modelled on one of these virtual mannequins. It should be noted, in a nod to racial diversity, one of these non-human models is black.
Extreme Photoshopping in advertising is increasingly becoming controversial, recently forcing companies like Nordstrom’s and Ann Taylor to acknowledge their over-enthusiastic retouching of images on their websites.
But some fashion companies like Canadian retailer Jacob recently announced they hope “to reverse the trend in digital photo manipulation that has become excessive in our industry.” The Montreal-based company no longer retouches the model’s body in their ads for clothing and lingerie.
H&M acknowledged that the real models whose heads they used were “well aware of how we are using them to show our items.” But how will this affect the modelling industry if more retailers adopt this kind of virtual reality?
“From an agent’s and a model’s point of view, it could mean less revenue,” says Brandon Hall, an agent at Toronto agency Sutherland Models.
If only a model’s head is being shot, it cuts down on the booking time, and there are no lengthy wardrobe, hair and makeup changes which can increase a model’s hourly rate, he says. Also, since the model’s facial expression never changes, the same image can be used over and over without additional fees.
But Hall doubts H&M, a global retailer with deep pockets, is using this practice for budget reasons.
Since the retailer is known for a rapid turnover — new merchandise arrives daily — this process could just mean cutting down on lengthy photo shoots and speeding up the production process of getting images up faster on the site, says Hall.
Converse, the Nike-owned shoe company, celebrated 100 years of manufacture with a print advertisement featuring icons of the 20th century. The Chuck Taylor All Star basketball shoe is connected with living and deceased cultural heroes, including Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Dwyane Wade, Sex Pistolist Sid Vicious, electric urban music star M.I.A., James Dean, Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O, rapper Common, Joan Jett and Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong.
Regional versions of the campaign used around the world include Ian Curtis (UK), Jefferson Hack (UK), Carlos Diez Diez (Spain), Jane Birkin (France), Nina Hagen (Germany), Kim, Jung Man (Korea), Cui Jian (China), Darren Cordeux (Australia), Jose Fernando Emilio (Mexico) and Sandro (Argentina).
The Converse Connectivity campaign was developed at Anomaly, New York, by executive creative director Mike Byrne, art director/copywriter Ian Toombs.
For, tally-ho! AggData has granted me access to their geolocated database of all 1,100+ United Kingdom Maccy D’s restaurants, and bolstered with a quick scrape of McIreland, I humbly present the British Isles as visualized by the distance to the nearest McDonald’s:
Creativity is the main prerequisite for innovation. However, our culture emphasizes critical thinking to the near exclusion of creative thinking (although it was the key to success in the Information Age). Today’s business is dominated by global complexity and commoditization. On the other hand, experts believe that creativity will be the driving force behind business success in the coming decades.
What constitutes creative thinking? For one, learning to think expansively and visually — to see patterns and “connect dots.” You also need to let your subconscious mind do a bulk of the work by temporarily disengaging your logical mind — in other words, Einstein’s process of mental incubation. And, once you have an idea, it’s important to be able to communicate it clearly and accurately to others.
In business, the process of generating and commercializing a good idea has been honed by creative industries for more than a hundred years. This infographic presents nine major steps toward creative problem solving for new product development.
Comments: The little Back to the Future jingle makes my heart flutter like crazy. This is the most engaging advertisement I have seen in a long time. And the fact that Doc Brown is in it blows it out of the water. Great job.
Social class is a controversial issue in the United States, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the “rich”, the “middle class”, and the “poor”. More complex models that have been proposed describe as many as a dozen class levels; while still others deny the very existence, in the strict sense, of “social class” in American society. Most definitions of class structure group people according to wealth, income, education, type of occupation, and membership in a specific subculture or social network.
Dennis Gilbert, William Thompson, Joseph Hickey, and James Henslin have proposed class systems with six distinct social classes. These class models feature an upper or capitalist class consisting of the rich and powerful, an upper middle class consisting of highly-educated and affluent professionals, a middle class consisting of college-educated individuals employed in white-collar industries, a lower middle class, a working class constituted by clerical and blue collar workers whose work is highly routinized, and a lower class divided between the working poor and the unemployed underclass.
Tertiary education (or “higher education”) is required for many middle-class professions, depending on how the term middle class is to be defined. Tertiary education is rarely free, but the costs vary widely: tuition at elite private colleges often exceeds $200,000 for a four-year program. On the other hand, public colleges and universities typically charge much less (for state residents), and many, such as the University of California system, rival the elite private schools in reputation and quality.
Also, scholarships offered by universities and government do exist, and low-interest loans are available. Still, the average cost of education, by all accounts, is increasing. The attainment of post-secondary and graduate degrees is the perhaps most important feature of a middle and upper middle class person with the university being regarded as the most essential institution and gatekeeper of the professional middle class. Educational attainment is also directly linked to income.
In 2005, the vast majority of those with doctorate and professional degrees were among the nation’s top 15% of income earners. Those with bachelor degrees had incomes considerably above the national median while the median income for those with some college education remained near the national median. According to U.S. Census Bureau, 9% of persons aged 25 or older had a graduate degree, 27.9% had a Bachelor’s degree or more with 53% having attended college.
With 85% of the population having graduated high school, it becomes apparent that the average American does not have a college degree, but is likely to have attended college for some time and has graduated high school. Overall, educational attainment serves as the perhaps most essential class feature of most Americans, being directly linked to income and occupation.
Social classes feature their own sub-cultures and have therefore developed slightly different manners of socializing their offspring. Due to class mobility individuals may also assimilate to the culture of another class when ascending or descending in the social order. However, one does need to remember that all social classes in the United States, except the upper class, consist of tens of millions of people. Thus social classes form social groups so large that they feature considerable diversity within and any statement regarding a given social class’ culture needs to be seen as a broad generalization.
Since 1970, sociologists such as Paula LeMasters and Melvin Kohl have set out repeatedly to research class based cultures. Class culture has been shown to have a strong influence on the mundane lives of people, affecting everything from the manner in which they raise their children, initiation and maintenance of romantic relationship to the color in which they paint their houses. The strongest cultural differences seem to run along the professional middle class-working class divide. A recent increase in residential class segregation and the overall tendency of individual to associate mostly with those of equal standing as themselves has further strengthened class differences.