Sometimes, the workings of PR can be subtle and hard to track. Other times, the message is as clear and blatant as can be – take, for example, this from the Daily Mail:
All I want for Christmas is a waist! Hourglass figure like Kelly Brook and Holly Willoughby tops women’s most wanted list
Skinny straight up and down figures might dominate the catwalk and the red carpet, but for British women, the shape of choice is a curvy hour-glass.
Almost three quarters of women surveyed said that a figure with a small waist balanced by larger breasts and hips was the ideal.
And rather than wanting to emulate the stick thin likes of Kate Moss, most women would prefer to have the figures of curvier celebrities such as Kelly Brook, Holly Willoughby, Beyonce and Kate Winslet.
Queue lots of photographs of celebrities who are in the media at the moment, who have hourglass figures. That these celebrities almost certainly either naturally have such a shape, or spend a large part of their lives in training and working out in order to maintain such a shape, is beside the point – these are now the aspirational figures we’re fed, to make all women feel bad if they don’t measure up.
But wait, for the (90%) of women in the population who don’t have the figure that professional model Kelly Brook has, there’s a saviour and a solution, in the form of some underwear from Debenhams (who seeded the story)!
Sharon Webb head of lingerie buying and design at Debenhams commented: ‘Even in the fifties most women, including film stars, had foundation garment help in creating their tiny waists.
‘Then they were called girdles and corsets and were a lot more uncomfortable than the modern versions, but thanks to innovative modern materials it is now a lot easier to get that coveted hourglass shape and nipped-in waist than it was in our grandmothers day.
‘It also helps that people are so much more open about using shapewear now. Some of our customers have admitted to being embarrassed about needing a little smoothing help in certain areas but once they realise so many celebrities have all talked openly about wearing shapewear they much more confident about buying it themselves.’
Sell people a problem, then sell people the solution to it: it’s PR in a nutshell.