Debenhams Ad – A PRO Variety Ad

Debenhams Ad - A PRO Variety Ad 1

British department store Debenhams launched a new set of ads that, surprise surprise… include very different models: tall, short, plus-size and a wheelchair-user model!

Let’s find out more from Daily Mail:

Debenhams today became the first High Street retailer to use a disabled model in its advertising campaigns.

Shannon Murray, who is confined to a wheelchair, took part in a photo shoot for the department store last week.

The actress and model, 32, revealed the news on her blog: ‘I’ve been modelling for over 14 years but this was different,’ she wrote.’It is a first and as I was getting ready in hair and make-up, the potential of this shoot suddenly struck me – another small step towards inclusion and representation.

‘I hope the images challenge a few misconceptions about disability; it’s been a long time coming.’

‘Britain is a varied placed filled with women of different sizes and ethnic backgrounds. The models and high street windows should reflect that variety but all too often they don’t.’

Debenhams Ad - A PRO Variety Ad 2

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39 thoughts on “Debenhams Ad – A PRO Variety Ad”

  1. I LOVE this! Most of the time, the complaints on modeling is thin/heavy/tall/short/proportions, etc, etc…but I’m just excited to see a woman who’s wheelchair bound. I don’t think my thoughts about models ever considered the disabled, and I’m just glad that this ad opened my eyes. I really hope to see more of these types of ads–not just because of the lady in the wheelchair, but also because the entire ad is broadened with different types of people. It’s very comforting to see abrand that embraces differences in their consumers. Bravo for Debenhams!

    • I agree. I think this is a wonderful idea. I took a class last year about society and people with disabilities and most of us do not even know how much discrimination there is especially against people using wheelchairs. Many doorways aren’t made accessible to them, excluding people from getting certain apartments, going to certain restaurants or using the bathrooms in those restaurants. There are so many ways to get around construction codes and to this day companies do the bare minimum to meet these regulations. I’m really glad to see this 🙂

      • “Many doorways aren’t made accessible to them, excluding people from getting certain apartments, going to certain restaurants or using the bathrooms in those restaurants.”
        find the error

      • I recently saw a BBC documentary about a guy in a wheelchair, who filmed himself with a hidden camera to show the amount of abuse he received on a daily basis.

        Now, I must admit, in the first 5 min of the show, I thought he was overreacting. I mean surely, I understand why there’s racism (not that I agree with it) but WHY would ANYONE do hate-crimes to disabled people….

        …well, after watching it, I was SHOCKED. The poor guy was hassled everyday, and even had people knock him out of the wheelchair. Everytime he went to the pub, people would make fun of him. And he was always so polite, he didn’t egg them on or anything, he was just going about his business.

        Humanity – once again – proving it’s mostly worth Sh%^

        • This is a little off subject, but I agree to a much deeper extent, not about individuals in wheelchairs, but about how cruel people are to ALL disabled. The reason it’s deeper to me is because about a year ago my brother was walking home from a store with a box of Dr. Peppers and a few other groceries, and he was robbed at knife point. His bags of groceries AND his debit card were stolen, and they demanded for his pin number, so he gave it to them. This bothered me, as all crimes bother me, but it mostly bothered me because my brother’s left side is partially paralyzed. He walks with an obvious limp and wears a leg brace. You can imagine how furious I was when I heard. I kept thinking “Who does this? Who looks at a visually impaired person and acts so cruel towards them?” Sadly, the idiots who do these things just aren’t tough enough to do it to people who can fight back. So, I’m not shocked about the BBC documentary, because it seems that, as you said, humanity isn’t very humane. My heart goes out to anyone with a disability…

  2. My eyes still went straight to the tall thin model on the left. Nar, the ads don’t bother me but i’m not taking my hat off to them either. I think campaigns with all sorts of people are fun to look at, but i don’t see it as anything ground breaking. Maybe they’er highlighting their “goodness” too much for my taste.

  3. YES, short but modelesque; finally. This makes me happy inside. Needless to say i saw her – far right – before everyone else.

  4. Dear god this is bulls—, they sure do know how to overdo things.. You can’t put every single type of woman in an add, that is ridiculous! I understand the whole skinny-curvy thing. Because it is stupid that normal sized women don’t get as much add work as really skinny ones do but this? wheelchair? skinny, curvy, fat, tall, short, midget, ugly, pretty, blond, brown, different ethnicities…. the list is endless. Just stick to a certain norm dear god these people are only meant to SHOW how the clothes look on a person in general, this shouldn’t become a battle of what kind of women can become models.

    • Maybe that was what bothered me here, too much variety in one single pic and a lack of focus and reason. To me it seems like mashing all these different people together just for the sake of it.

    • what is the certain norm that we should stick to? I don’t know about you but when I go anywhere, this what I see. I never once though, wow this too much diversity. If you’re really super interested in the clothes, you’ll see them no matter what.

  5. In my opinion this is a little over the top to get attention, but I’m liking the variety. As others have stated, far right stands out. Not to say that the others can’t stand out, it’s just they don’t.

  6. This has to be a good thing, wheelchair users shop like the rest of us and surely it will encourage accessabilty and more consideration from other customers?

    But I didn’t even notice the plus size model was plus sized, she’s rather well hidden!

  7. In an ideal world, no one would have to think: “wow a fat/small/disabled model”, because it would be just normal. But sadly this isn’t the case… And to me this ad just looks like the company is desperately looking for attention…

    • Hahah those were my exact thoughts! It’s like they were trying too hard to be diverse. True diversity doesn’t look forced, it just IS. By having all these women just there, it looks like a Yaz commercial or a picture from a high school textbook and forced, not an actual campaign.

      I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone, but this is what went on in my head lol

  8. I don’t know, It’s doing what we all have been asking them to do, so I guess this fits the bill. It’s not entirely aesthetically pleasing, but hey, at least it’s on the right path

  9. I find it sad if anyone can look at this and think that it’s too much variation seeing all these different people together. Have you ever looked around in the real world..this is normal. A group of people together that are all very different in so many ways, why is that so strange? If it isn’t aesthetically pleasing to see this much variation of people in a picture, then maybe we’re too used to seeing what the media tries to portray as average or normal. Any time a company tries to have different people, it should be encouraged, no matter what their real goal is, or if they’ve included every type of person (as that would be completely impossible). It’s still putting more images out there of how unique and different people are around us. We need to get used to that, and not feel like a specific mold is what looks best, or what looks right. The more we see variation, the more we will become accustomed, and the more our view of beauty will be diversified.

    • I agree completely! When I first saw this I just thought “Oh a new campaign” I didnt even realize that one girl was plus sized, and one was short. Its a group of people! I can’t believe that people on here are criticizing this ad because there is so much diversity. News flash, the world is a diverse place.

  10. This is a decent attempt at variety, I think. The picture at the top may have the plus size model at the back, but I believe there is more than just one photograph that is being used. I don’t know how many, but if the plus size lady is hidden behind someone in every photo, THEN people can start getting angry.

    At the same time, I also think a previous poster has a good point: how far is it going to go regarding including every woman of every type? If we’re talking modelling, I can certainly see the need for plus size and petite size to advertise clothing for these body types. I can also see the need for more racial diversity to represent the population more accurately and also to show whether or not a certain colour would work with your colouring (though I have to say that South Asians are far more numerous than Black people in the UK, so it would’ve been more representative if the ‘token non-white’ model had been South Asian). I think it’s great that the lady in the wheelchair has had this opportunity to be a ‘normal’ model, but does a wheelchair-bound person really need a wheelchair-bound model for her to know what the clothing will look like? All disabled people I have known have not had drastically different body types to those with the use of their legs.

      • Should we also include women who have lost limbs, women who are deformed, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, women who’ve lost their breasts to breast cancer, bald women, women with warts, women with braces, etc., etc. in every single clothing advertisement then? None of those are represented and they might also think it is good being represented for once. Do you think they need to be shown how clothing will look on them? Do these women not fit into the tall, short, plus, thin and average categories?

  11. Well, it’s a nice stand to show that everyone deserves to look good, no matter what.

    But people seem to forget fashion is about the clothes. And anyone looking at that ad would notice all the different women together first and the clothes second. They’d probably walk away remembering the unusual ad rather than the clothes being sold through the ad.

    I think it’s impossible to reproduce the diversity in real life on the catwalk and in fashion mags – there would be no way to have every woman find herself there. I think the reason why models always had a certain size and a certain height was because they were and basically are just hangers for the clothes – pretty hangers tho. They’re not supposed to show you how you’d look in the clothes but rather the design of the clothes.

    If you want to see how a certain piece looks on you just use those nifty clothing boots with mirrors and everything that all shops have.

    • I agree that it is more about the clothing, but I also think that if someone is selling plus- or petite-size clothing they should show it on the appropriately sized model. This is because, if the model is the wrong size for the clothes, the fact that it doesn’t fit will stand out more than how great the clothes are.

      Also, I think with the rise of the internet and ordering online, it is becoming more important to be able to see a model that looks a bit more like the customer or a lot of money is wasted delivering and returning products. For many people, going to a real-life store is not an option. e.g. I know petite women in North America that cannot buy petite clothing in stores: it is only offered on the online version of the store. In addition, there are more and more online stores that do not even sell their clothing offline.

  12. I think its bit of overkill. Good effort, but I don’t think it’s very effective for selling clothes. I had to scroll back up because I didn’t remember what any of them were wearing. There is nothing wrong with some diversity but the clothes should be the focus of the ad, not the models.

  13. You people are insane. And I mean all of you. Fat, skinny, tall, short, black white, whatever. Speaking from the perspective of a normal height curvy latina, I’m really glad that there is more variety nowadays with modeling selection. I love it. The wheel chair thing is a stretch but I love it 🙂

  14. God, there’s no pleasing everyone.

    If it’s just models: baaaaaa
    If it’s an inclusion of ACTUAL different people (not like those magazine articles we had previously, where the variation was 1-2 inches in hip size, and 1-2 inches smaller then 5’11) – baaaaaaa

    Frankly I wish they did this in every magazine spread. Why do *I* care how the clothes look on the 5’11 woman with narrow hips? I’m not that woman. Isn’t it backwards to change myself to fit that ideal, when it’s a lot easier to just MAKE CLOTHES THAT FLATTER EVERYONE?

    This is exactly the reason I don’t buy western magazines.

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