“We have a huge responsibility here,” H&M’s CEO Karl-Johan Persson said in a recent interview with Metro. “We’re a large company, many people see us, and we advertise a lot. I don’t think we’ve always been good. Some of the models we’ve had have been too skinny. That’s something we think a lot about and are working on. We want to show diversity in our advertising and not give people the impression that girls have to look a particular way.”
Which could explain the company’s recent use of Runk in the ad campaign for its summer swimwear collection. H&M didn’t make a big deal of it—but the Internet reacted. “Her real-woman body serves as an inspiring and refreshing reminder that size is not an indicator of beauty, and we particularly love the positive message that this campaign sends,” we wrote when the campaign first launched earlier this month. However, Persson’s remarks do not necessarily mean we can expect to see real-size women in H&M ads all the time. “There are models who’re too thin or obviously underweight, but there are also those who’re just thin, and they’re the ones we should keep working with, as long as they look sound and healthy,” Persson said.
What do you think of H&M’s push to feature “sound and healthy” models? Tell us in the comments.
— Jennifer Merritt