Spotted! Penningtons dances into social video

Flash dance mobs and Facebook Live help the retailer lead a movement.

Canadian plus-size fashion retailer Penningtons recently partnered with the New York-based Pretty Big Movement to make a dance floor out of a busy Toronto intersections.

The event turned local body image activists and members of Pretty Big Movement into a flash mob intended to dance away the negative attitudes and discrimination plus-size women face.

The event builds on Penningtons’ #iwontcompromise campaign, which has emerged from the retailer’s mission to “be an advocate for body diversity and acceptance,” and which has evolved into a veritable movement for its customers, said Ginette Harnois, the company’s VP Marketing.

The dancing was live-streamed on Facebook in a 17-minute video that has since garnered 253,000 views (a cut-down recap of the event also appears on Pennington’s YouTube page).

The Reitmans-owned retailer has a strong Facebook following of nearly 163,000 followers. It continues to target women aged 30 to 55.

“We saw that [Facebook Live] was the natural place for us to try to get [our customers] involved in the live execution,” Harnois said, “because the emotional connection that you get when you’re participating versus seeing something after the fact is very different.”

It’s not the first time the company has experimented with the live-streaming platform. In February, it organized a flash runway in Toronto’s Union Station.

The event comes on the heels of a new television ad in which Akira Armstrong, CEO of Pretty Big Movement and a former BeyoncĂ© backup dancer, goes head-to-head in martial-arts style combat against a pair of denim jeans (a surprisingly worthy opponent), with the tagline, “Stop fighting with your jeans.”