Just when you thought your news feed couldn't hold any more branded campaigns against body-shaming, Amazon Fashion has piled on with a fashion-y twist: Called #SaySomethingNice, the effort takes aim at the mean-spirited among us who attack women for how they dress.
In a video on YouTube, Amazon Fashion’s European division asks a handful of Internet style icons to talk about the ugly things people have said to them about their clothes (and their bodies). And it gets them to admit that they’ve been just as judge-y, themselves.
Brands like Dove, Pantene, Coke, Secret and Lane Bryant have made big pushes into changing the way women treat each other on social media. But to some observers, Amazon’s appeal is a little flimsier, precisely because it deals with fashion.
“Fashion is about judgment,” says Naama Bloom, SVP of integrated marketing for SheKnows, and founder of HelloFlo. “Body shaming is about attacking people for things they can’t change. But what we choose to wear projects something about ourselves. People who make more extreme fashion choices invite more extreme comments.”
Women’s Wear Daily, which reports that the effort is scheduled to run for a month, says that by Amazon’s reckoning, Instagram has more than 82 million posts tagged #OOTH, or outfit of the day. And, just as Yelp makes us think we’re all restaurant critics, those posts inspire some people to call on their inner Anna Wintour.
What Bloom likes about the campaign, though, “is that when you see something you don’t like, you don’t have to be so nasty in the way you comment. There is, overall, a loss of decency online. We all may judge people’s outfits, but there is a big difference between saying you don’t like a dress and saying, 'You’re too fat to wear that.’”
Amazon’s push comes just a week after London’s mayor vowed to banish unhealthy body image ads from transit advertising, which could lead to the conclusion that Brits are banding together to be a little kinder to women in general.
While there is no evidence that Brits are inherently nicer than Americans, says Clifford Lampe, associate professor of information at the University of Michigan, “studies have shown that people in Britain do use more polite words, and more qualifying words.”
As to the bigger question about whether campaigns like this work, Lampe thinks they are probably more effective at burnishing brands than at altering human nature. “There have been a lot of efforts like this,” he tells Marketing Daily. “It’s really difficult to say whether they have had an impact. There have been good lab studies that show that getting people to tap into feelings of empathy can reduce harassment. But we don’t know how much those results survive when they leave the lab.”