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By Eduardo Vilas Bôas
Fashion Professor at Senac SP

Traditional advertising as done in newspapers, magazines and on television is going through a “credibility crisis”, states Prof. Dr. Edson Crescitelli, from School of Economics, Business Administration and Accounting (FEA) of the São Paulo University (USP).

The popularization of smart phones, from 2010 on, gave consumers easy and constant access to the web. Even so, “[…] the most recent technological innovations – such as the Internet, digital TV and data transmission via mobile devices – tend to provoke deep changes in the media and not in advertising itself, at least not directly” (CRESCITELLI, 2004, p. 4). In other words, advertising continues to influence the population, but increasingly through portable media.

In the American scenario, according to research1 carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), the investment in digital advertising surpassed the budget for network TV since 2013. The digital media has increasingly attracted supporters of marketing communication strategies since it offers better segmentation, lower costs and faster propagation, besides allowing online interaction with the consumer (immediate feedback).

Two of Prof. Crescitelli’s affirmations deserve to be analyzed: (i) although businesses view the credibility of advertising with suspicion, many still choose to advertise; and, (ii) although expenses with event sponsorships are still relatively low, they are increasing as an alternative.

The fashion industry may be a good paradox for these affirmations, once we have witnessed the impoverishment of traditional fashion weeks (events) and the reduction of ads in fashion magazines (advertising).

Fashion shows and graphic ads have had to face the audiovisual option as a strong competitor (see online campaigns on YouTube) since fashion shows require a great amount of financial resources, reach a very limited audience, offer very little emotional interaction and involvement, besides a very short life cycle (the novelty wears off with the appearance of something newer).

Printed advertisements in magazines also involve high publicizing costs, not to mention that their life cycle only lasts till the next edition reaches the newsstands. Another relevant aspect is the target audience’s profile, once young people are more into fashion and have deeper electronic habits.

Alternative events such as Victoria´s Secrets Fashion Show and Monange Dream Fashion Tour (Brazil) have changed the traditional format of shows by appealing to storytelling and live broadcasting on television and the Internet, with supermodels, refined sceneries, stories, famous musicians, which stimulates buzz marketing, interaction with the client, and increases the ad’s life cycle.


Brands such as Christian Dior have invested in movies instead of television commercials. In 2009, the Lady Dior campaign was publicized in magazines and through videos, in four main parts: Lady NoireLady RougeLady Blue and Lady Grey. Each product was presented in a short film involving an atmosphere of mysteries, intrigue and seduction, in order to catch the consumer’s eye and create an environment for highlighting the attributes of power and seduction produced by the brand’s bags.

Another relevant aspect pointed out by Crescitelli (2004, p.12) is “the inadequate and socially condemnable approach used to persuade consumers”, which traditional advertising has used and that has affected its credibility.

A current example is the policy that the American brand Abercrombie & Fitch has used in its language in advertising campaigns. The brand’s now former CEO , Mike Jeffrie, publicly declared that “he doesn’t want his core customers to see people who are not as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the cool kids”2. The designer label has already been sued in the U.S. and in France for inspiring a culture that values slimness and discriminates obese people (the brand does not sell plus sizes).


1 Research available at < >

2 Interview available at < >

CRESCITELLI, Edson; SHIMP, T.A. Comunicação de marketing [Marketing communication]. São Paulo: Cengage, 2012. Chapters 7 and 19.

CRESCITELLI, E. Crise de credibilidade da propaganda: considerações sobre seu impacto na eficácia da mensagem [Advertisement credibility crisis: considerations on its impact on the effectiveness of the message]. Revista FACOM – Faculdade de Comunicação da FAAP, 2004, 2. semestre. (AE)

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