Underwear maker doesn't have its panties in a wad - they're in themail

DALLAS: The Richards Group is giving new meaning to the term "press

briefing" with a PR campaign recently launched for Fruit of the

Loom.



The agency has sent 500 sample boxes of Fruit of the Loom underwear to

reporters at such magazines as Seventeen, Cosmo Girl, Urb, and Details

as part of a new PR campaign to modernize the underwear maker's

image.



The PR efforts accompany a new TV ad campaign, also by Richards, which

is running on major networks, with syndicated shows, and with cable

outlets.



Richards will also handle IR for Fruit of the Loom as the company

emerges from bankruptcy. "By the first quarter of next year, we hope to

have quite a turnaround story to tell," said Ruth Fitzgibbons, Richards'

principal of PR. Richards picked up the ad and PR work for Fruit of the

Loom last October.



A marketing budget has not been disclosed, though six Richards staffers

are working on PR and IR, while 12 are working on advertising for the

business.



The Chicago-based underwear maker wants to appeal to teens and urban

consumers, as well as women and men younger than its traditional

audience. "We're using tactics for the editorial media to contemporize

the brand," Fitzgibbons said.



Richards is watching for other PR opportunities. A recent newspaper

report that Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa doesn't change underwear

when on a hot streak prompted Richards to send him 24 pairs of Fruit of

the Loom, which garnered press coverage.



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