BOOTS

Why the new Boots summer ad is the perfect antithesis to tired body-shaming slogans

Summer happiness should not be tagged onto body type.

05 Jun 2019

Hands up who else is completely infuriated by the socially constructed idea that we all need to be focusing on a ‘beach body’ each summer? A ridiculous concept pedalled each year, at times there are wall-to-wall commercials saying the very same (dull) thing. Why as women are we still being reduced to this?

So, when the new Boots advert landed, we knew our ideal antithesis to that body-shaming mantra had been born. Beginning with some favourite pre-holiday beauty products being slung into a shopping basket, and passports at the ready, two friends are about to jet away. Walking through the airport, an uber glamorous bikini-clad model struts across a nearby billboard with “Are you summer ready?” emblazoned across it. The pals look at each other, perplexed, shaking their heads.

As a viewer, I love that this scene calls out the fact you don’t need to look a certain way to be ready for summer. It takes a moment to stop and reflect, reaffirming an entire season isn’t on hold until we become anything other than ourselves.

And then, music plays, brilliantly blasting “Leave it out, nobody looks like that, it’s just a load of chat”, to the tune of Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out. As the women board their plane and apply lip-balm while having a laugh together, lyrics continue, “I’ve got no doubt, we’re going to look supreme, like fierce beauty queens”.

Arriving at their destination, the pair unpack and preen themselves pre-beach. Viewers hear “The time has come for us to show the way we feel. It’s time to shout, I’m going out, I want the world to know, I’ve got it all on show”, as they strut along the beach confidently, before whipping off their sarongs and dancing in the sea. The ad then ends with Let’s Feel Good About Summer as the final, parting thought.

A snapshot of friendship and summer fun, this ad isn’t contrived but just relaxed and totally relatable. Because ultimately summer happiness should not be tagged onto body type. We salute you, Boots, for adding positivity to a market which often shoves completely unrealistic ideals down our throats.

Marketing director for Boots UK and Ireland, Helen Normoyle, explains the thought process behind their advert, saying, “As the brand that stands for championing everyone’s right to feel good, we wanted to take action. That’s why we’re celebrating women who aren’t driven by a need to be someone else’s definition of ‘summer ready’. In doing so, we hope to inspire the rest of the nation to stop worrying about what others think and just start feeling great about themselves.”

Host on C4’s Naked Beach and Co-host of the Body Cons Podcast (@bodyconspodcast), Molly Forbes (@mollyjforbes) adds her take, sharing, “I think its brilliant that brands are waking up to not making women feel bad in order to sell products. This is a much-needed refreshing change, and Boots are empowering women in a positive way, rather than shaming them.”

Molly is currently campaigning for a ban on slimming club and weight loss ads to be marketed near children and young people, acutely aware of how damaging this beach body dialogue can be. And as a mother, there’s absolutely no way I want my daughter growing up thinking she needs to starve herself ahead of a beach holiday or feel less than adequate if her body doesn’t fit a certain box. That thought terrifies and sickens me in equal measures, making ads like this even more important. Whatever our shape or size, I think it’s safe to say we’re all worn down by the pressure on young girls and women.

About the advert, Molly continues: “The one thing I do think it’s important to remember though, is that all women can have hang-ups, and we may not all feel confident enough to strip off on the beach. We need to stop talking about women in terms of body types, as this creates an us vs them divide, and in real life, women who look like supermodels can lack body confidence too.”

She finishes, by reiterating, “However, I wholeheartedly applaud this celebration of all the glorious bodies we see in real life”.
Thank you Boots, for adding sunshine and a summer boost while tackling a topic relevant to so many.

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