TV programme challenges fashion brands to use ‘real women’ in ads

Hosiery brand Pretty Polly and cosmetics range Avon are among the companies to be featured in a television series fronted by Coleen McLoughlin.

The ITV2 series, Coleen’s Real Women sees McLoughlin challenge high-profile fashion and beauty brands to reconsider who fronts their advertising campaigns.

She goes on a “mission” to find “real women” for modeling assignments; only amateurs are allowed to take part. McLoughlin aims to persuade marketing teams to use them instead of models and celebrities. The programme has been created by Endemol-owned Initial, which makes advertiser-funded branded content programming as well as entertainment shows.

The series starts on January 31, with leg-wear specialists Pretty Polly featured, and ends on March 20, with Schwarzkopf hair care brand Supersoft Smoothies. McLoughlin has to find women to represent five different variants. Supersoft Smoothies launched in 2007 with a campaign starring Spice Girl Emma Bunton.

Other brands taking part in the series include women’s exercise wear label Sweaty Betty; lingerie brand Ultimo, whose current celebrity face is Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding; New Woman magazine; Fake Bake, which dropped Sophie Anderton from its advertising in November following a drugs exposé; and Pacha.

McLoughlin is the face of Asda’s George clothes range and has deals with Diet Coke, Nike and LG Phones. She is said to have earned £3m for her perfume Coleen X, which launched last year and was a best seller over the Christmas period. Her only previous presenting experience was in 2006 when she hosted a special edition of Tonight with Trevor McDonald on the genetic condition Rett syndrome.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here