The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) is a non-profit organisation in Canada that provides information on eating disorders and food and weight preoccupation. In a new campaign that started at the end of Canada's national "Eating Disorder Awareness Week", NEDIC enlsited the help of the public to tackle one of the causes of eating disorders.
There has been much research carried out into the link between exposure to unrealistic body images and eating disorders in young women. Half of all Canadian women diet, and 1 in 4 female teenagers fast, binge or purge. NEDIC wanted to put pressure on the creators of these images and raise public awareness about their impact on young Canadian women.
The "Cast responsibly. Retouch minimally" campaign targeted marketers and fashion leaders who cast very thin women in their ads and fashion features. Hard hitting direct marketing material included a greetings card saying "Thank you for making me a successful anorexic", and an impossibly thin t-shirt tagged with the message "Please try this on to experience how your ads make us feel." All material carried the NEDIC web address, where members of the industry were asked to commit to a NEDIC pledge to cast models responsibly and re-touch photographs minimally.
Creative director Zak Mroueh believes that public pressure has the potential to change deeply ingrained industry practices. "We want advertisers and marketers to be more accountable," he said, "together we have the power to change the criteria for the casting process."
Advertising space at a bus stop provided an opportunity for the public to get involved in the campaign, where they could dispose of their fashion magazines through a slot in the poster casing. They were also invited to sign an online petition that asked marketers to broaden their definition of beauty.
This campaign contained clever use of interactive elements to create a platform for the public to voice support for the cause. Some effective direct marketing material also helped to communicate the core message.