Special K uses ‘real size’ women in ads

Kellogg brand Special K is to start using “real women” in some of its marketing communications.


The women will replace the usual Special K slimmer models in some of the cereal brand’s communications.

One ad shows a group of women with a body mass index of between 25 to 29.9, officially classed as overweight, stepping up to a giant set of scales. Instead of their weight appearing positive messages, such as “amazing”, flash up.

The campaign will focus on encouraging women to think about some of the other positives they gain when they lose weight, rather than just focusing on what they look like or what size they are.

A Special K spokesperson says: “We want to encourage a responsible attitude when it comes to body image and to show that losing weight isn’t just about the way you look or a certain size you need to conform to, but more importantly about the way it makes you feel. The fact that we are using real women for the first time of a variety of shapes and sizes is the perfect way to encourage women to think differently about losing weight and not just focus on the numbers on the bathroom scales.”

However, the iconic Special K red swimsuit woman will appear in other advertising campaigns.

Special K’s move has echoes of Unilever brand Dove’s “Campaign for real beauty” from 2004 that featured normal-sized women.

Last year Boots trumpeted the fact its Boots’ No7 cosmetics brand carried out a “mould breaking” campaign with ads starring non-airbrushed, age-appropriate models that had not had plastic surgery.

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketoonist on GDPR

The Marketoonist

Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

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

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest 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 will be your guide.


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

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

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